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Student Protests: Wheelchair Attack 'Lawful'

Police officers were justified in pulling a student fees protester from his wheelchair and "inadvertently" hitting him with a baton, an inquiry has found.

:: Jody McIntyre, speaking in December 2010, gives his account of events 

Jody McIntyre, 21, was attacked by officers during a demonstration on December 9, but the actions police were "justifiable and lawful given the volatile and dangerous situation", Scotland Yard's Directorate of Professional Standards said.

Mr McIntyre claimed he was the victim of an unprovoked attack, complaining that an officer tipped him out of his wheelchair onto the ground, then dragged him across the road onto the pavement.

He said the treatment amounted to discrimination on the basis of his disability.

But a statement from the force said: "The investigation, supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), did not find evidence to substantiate any of the complaints made by Jody McIntyre regarding two separate incidents at the demonstrations.

"Whilst there is evidence that Jody McIntyre was inadvertently struck with a police baton, the investigation found that the actions of officers were justifiable and lawful given the volatile and dangerous situation occurring at the location and his removal from his wheelchair was also justifiable given the officers' perceived risk to Jody McIntyre."

Following the incident, investigators took advice from the force's independent disability advisory group, which recommended that guidance be developed around the most appropriate way to move a wheelchair user should it become necessary.

Acting Commander Carl Bussey, head of the Directorate of Professional Standards, said:

"The allegations made by Jody McIntyre were extremely concerning and we have carried out a very thorough investigation under the supervision of the IPCC to establish the facts.

"The investigation did not find evidence to substantiate any of the complaints and, given how damaging these allegations were to the reputation of the MPS and relationship with both protesters and London's disabled community, it is only right that we report back and therefore publicly account on what occurred."