A police officer who punched an unarmed man 12 times “did not commit misconduct”, an internal probe has found.
Concerns were raised by eye-witnesses about the use of force by armed PCs arresting two brothers in the St Werbugh’s area in Bristol.
Harvey and Nathan Jackson were suspected of snatching two dogs from a woman’s property earlier in the day.
Police Tasered the pair before repeatedly punching one of them while he lay “apparently incapacitated” on the ground, a lawyer who saw the arrest has said.
Robbery charges against the pair were later dropped but they both pleaded guilty to possessing a knife during the initial incident.
They were unarmed by the time they reached Ashley Street, where they were detained by officers.
A member of the public who saw the arrest told Bristol Live than one PC, who police have confirmed punched the suspect in the head, used “completely unnecessary” force.
But an internal investigation by Avon and Somerset Police concluded that the “service level was acceptable” and no action will be taken against the officers.
The force found that the officers were aware that the suspects had been armed earlier in the day and had “an honestly held belief” they were at risk of harm.
Detailing the shocking scene, one witness said: “Quite a few bystanders saw the same thing and were quite horrified by it. A couple of people filmed it.
“Afterwards the man was really upset and angry. I heard him shouting, ‘Why were you punching me in the head?’”
A 41-year-old lawyer who was also at the scene said there appeared to have been “definite wrongdoing” from police.
The suspects were Tasered after defying police orders to get on the ground with their hands up, but once “apparently incapacitated” the officer continued using force, he said.
“After the men refused to do so they were Tasered by the police officers,” he said. “Once the men were on the floor and apparently incapacitated, I saw one police officer repeatedly punching one of the men in the head.
“I saw the officer going back and forth with their forearm extremely vigorously five or six times, possibly more. This was well after the man had been incapacitated.”
Another woman claimed she had heard one of the brothers shout that he had a “bad heart” before police Tasered him.
The force’s professional standards department examined bodycam footage as part of its investigation.
In its findings it says the officer “can be seen to punch (jab)” the suspect “around 12 times” while telling him to put his hands out.
These strikes “were jab like, rather than full blown punches and ceased once they had had the desired effect” the PC stopped, the probe found.
In a statement the officer, named only as PC A*, says he felt the suspect “tense up” and resist handcuffs when he brought him to the ground.
The witness who lodged the formal complaint has until June 23 to decide if she will apply for a review.
If she goes ahead, it would be considered by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
An Avon and Somerset police spokesperson said: “Following the incident, concerns were raised by a witness about the level of the police response and an investigation was subsequently carried out by our Professional Standards Department.
“Body worn footage captured by officers at the scene was scrutinised as part of our enquiries.
“The investigation has now concluded and found our response to be proportionate to the threat level identified. No individual misconduct was found.”