Footage has emerged of a police officer appearing to punch a Manchester United fan several times whilst he lay on the ground being arrested.
Supporters clashed with police outside the Lowry Hotel, Manchester, on Sunday as fans protested against United’s owners, the Glazer family.
Around 200 fans were said to have gathered at the hotel where the United team were staying and blocked exits to stop them travelling to Old Trafford, where more demonstrations were taking place.
In exclusive footage taken from outside the hotel, officers can be seen dragging a young male behind a police van before restraining him on the ground and telling him to “stop resisting”.
One of the officers then seems to punch him more than once in his mid-section before standing and pushing away other civilians who were filming the incident.
The officer can be heard shouting “get back now”.
The person filming the incident replies: “No need to touch me. I getting back.”
The police officer then shouts: “Do as I say”, to which the man filming responds: “I am doing as you say, no need to touch me.”
Prior to the arrest a small number of fans appeared to stop a lorry in the middle of the street and the footage then shows them remonstrating with the driver, who had climbed out of the vehicle.
One eyewitness told Mirror Sport: “There was quite a heavy police presence. They pushed the protestors back onto the main road to stop them coming down to the Lowry Hotel where the players were.
“It all went well up until the point the fans found out the game was off, which then it started to turn ugly towards the police, started throwing bottles, lighting smoke grenades.
“They were blocking cars, smashing into cars, kicking cars and then the truck turned up where it all started. They were blocking it. The driver got out, tried to confront them.”
A second eyewitness from the scene told Mirror Sport: “What kicked that incident off, I believe, was there was a lorry trying to get through and basically the protestors wouldn’t let the lorry come through. The driver got out and a couple of protestors starting climbing on the front of the lorry.”
It was at that moment officers swooped to make their arrest.
The second eyewitness then claims police acted differently towards him when arresting the individual.
“I’d had good relations with the police all day,” he said. “They’d had no problem with me getting right up as close as I wanted to them, to their lines and walking through them. At that point [of the arrest] I was made to move away from what was going on.”
Discussing the protest, he added: “A lot happened. Protestors were throwing flares and bottles at police. I saw them kicking buses that were trying to get through, stopping traffic getting through.
“The place was an absolute tip when they left, the place was just broken glass, flares, rubbish, bottles, all over the floor where they’d been.
“They kept trying to get closer to the Lowry Hotel where the team were staying.”
Mirror Sport contacted Greater Manchester Police for comment, who issued the following statement: “We are aware of a video circulating online of officers making an arrest during a protest today (2 May) near The Lowry Hotel.
“The video depicts officers arresting a 28-year-old male on suspicion of a theft from a motor vehicle and a public order offence. He currently remains in custody for questioning.
“GMP’s Professional Standards Branch has been made aware of the video and will be examining the footage and all available evidence to understand the full circumstances surrounding the arrest.”
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Thousands had turned up to voice their discontent at the Glazers, with many making their way onto the pitch, where corner flags were removed and broadcast cameras were reportedly broken.
Some even made their way inside the building, with police taking two attempts to secure the stadium.
Outside police clashed with fans in ugly scenes as bottles were thrown at officers, two of whom suffered injuries.
The fixture was delayed for over an hour before the Premier League, both clubs and the authorities took the decision to postpone it.