U.K. Police Force Refers Itself to Watchdog After Officer Tasers Man in Front of Screaming Child

England's Greater Manchester Police says it has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, after video footage emerged showing officers taser a man in front of his screaming child.

In the video, the man, who has now been identified as Desmond Ziggy Mombeyarara, 34, appears before two officers as he is holding a child near a parked car. As he lets go of the child, officers are shown attempting to take ahold of the man's arms before one of the officers tasers him.

As Mombeyarara falls to the floor, the distressed child can be heard screaming "daddy."

This just happened a few hours ago @gmpolice pic.twitter.com/0sIwn3NrHI

— Yaa🇬🇭 (@essmurph) May 7, 2020

Mombeyarara has since been charged with various offences including two counts of resisting a constable in the execution of their duty and one count of failing to stop when required to do so, as well as one count of being unfit to drive through drink.

The incident happened shortly before 11 PM on May 6, at a petrol station on Chester Road in Stretford, east of Liverpool.

Footage of the incident which has been widely shared on social media, drew concern from members of the public as well as the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham.

Burnham issued a statement on Twitter: "On Friday morning (8 May 2020) a video was brought to my attention of a police incident at a petrol station in Greater Manchester involving two police officers, a man, a child and the use of a Taser.

"I was concerned about what I saw and immediately asked GMP to look into it and provide me with an explanation of what had happened.

"From what I have been told, it appears that the officers were right to apprehend the individual who was putting his child and others at risk by his actions.

"He has subsequently been charged. But it is not clear that the level of force used in this instance, particularly in front of a child, was proportionate or justified and that is why I have asked for an urgent and independent review to be carried out."

Man tasered by Greater Manchester Police
Greater Manchester Police says it has referred itself to The Independent Office for Police Conduct over the incident Getty

Greater Manchester Police said: "The matter has been reviewed by the GMP Professional Standards Branch and we have voluntarily referred this matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, to ensure transparency and independence in terms of reviewing the circumstances of the arrest."

Superintendent Mark Kenny said: "We are aware of public concern regarding this arrest and I want to reassure the public that this matter is being reviewed and treated seriously. In addition, we have voluntarily referred this matter to the IOPC."

Mombeyarara has been remanded in custody and is due to appear before Manchester Magistrates Court today.