Police force told the press "police officers had broken bones and one had a punctured lung" - non of it true.
There was widespread outrage when Avon and Somerset police force issued a press release on Monday claiming “a total of 20 officers were assaulted or injured and two of them were taken to hospital after suffering broken bones. One of them also suffered a punctured lung.”
This was widely reported on.
Now the force has since issued another statement in which it clarifies that the press statement is not true, confirming neither police officer was found to have suffered a broken bone upon medical examination.
The Guardian has contacted Avon and Somerset police for clarification on why these claims were made and to request a list of the injuries sustained by officers policing Sunday night’s protest. The force failed to respond.
Kevin Blowe, the coordinator of Netpol, which campaigns around the policing of protest, said exaggerated claims of injuries by police were not without precedent.
In response to the claims of injuries at Bristol, Blowe said: “It does raise concerns that Avon and Somerset may have been trying to sell the case not only for their operation on the night, but for what happens next. Bristol is geared up for raids on homes.”
Of course, these statements by the police take away from the real meaning of the protest, whilst taking the attention off police officers who were pushing, beating and pepper spraying peaceful people.
Andrew Plant, a BBC journalist, deleted a tweet that said “Riot police with dogs as arrests are made after Bristol’s second protest in three days turns ugly. It was peaceful before police arrived.”