The question was raised on Slugger O Toole initially whether the coping stone which hit the young female police officer at the Ardoyne shops in North Belfast had been dropped by a rioter or had fallen as a result of water canon pressure.
I was not the author of the original question but when this started to become thematic I turned my attention to this matter.
A senior police officer went on the Nolan Show and spoke of “murderous intent” and claimed also to know the identity of a rioter wearing a mask.
At no point was ACC Mc Causland asked if the coping stone had fallen or been dropped from a height.
In a post on Slugger I drew attention to the question as raised above. The post carried the headline ‘True or false?’
There has been a huge volume of traffic on this matter and I have absorbed some abuse to which I have become well accustomed as I sought out the truth down the years.
Following the meeting with Peter Robinson and Martin Mc Guinness Chief Constable Matt Baggott was more circumspect when asked about the capacity to bring someone before the courts arising from the injury to the female officer. He said “now we move into the arrest and justice phase. We will put whatever resources we need into bringing them before the courts. We know the identity of many of them really. We are working methodically through that. We’re gathering the evidence.”
New information has now emerged which brings greater lucidity to the lack of certainty about how exactly the coping stone hit the policewoman.
The buildings are not in pristine condition.
Earlier the police had an awareness that some of the coping stones had been loosened.
Youths had been taking cover inside the coping stones on the rooftops possibly to avoid the force of the water canon or to obviate detection.
There are aerial shots to show this. The PSNI claim to have the name of one person on the roof around the time that the police officer was injured.
The police has also confirmed that water canon had been directed at rioters on the rooftops.
Security insiders know that they need more information to prove the coping stone was physically dropped by a rioter resulting in the injury to the female officer.
A senior security source told me “there is nothing we can say with certainty until the investigation is more advanced.”
This direct quote leaves open the possibility that either case is possible that the coping stone gave way because it and others had been loosened and possibly disturbed with the force of the water canon or else a rioter literally dropped the coping stone from a height.
Proving all of this necessitates an evidential sequence to stand up to cross examination and scrutiny. This is not a black or white matter.
The good news is that the young female officer has no broken bones but has sustained tissue bruising and is destined to make a full recovery. Eamonn Mallie