Black man screams ‘my eyes’ after being pepper-sprayed during city centre arrest

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A black man being pepper-sprayed during a city centre arrest has prompted a Black Lives Matter group to arrange an emergency protest.

Footage of the dramatic incident shows a police officer using pepper spray on the man, who is sat on a bench, before two other members of the force pull him to the floor and put him in handcuffs.

Three more police officers arrive on the scene within minutes as a crowd quickly gathers around.

Cries of "my eyes!" can be heard from the man who repeatedly screams and wails in the dramatic video clip.

Onlookers demand to know why he is being arrested and are heard saying "this is outrageous" as the main cries in pain.

A police statement said: 'When officers tried to arrest him, he resisted and incapacitant spray was deployed and physical control was used to detain him'
(Image: leeds-live.co.uk)

Police have issued a statement after video of the incident sparked accusations of racism and police brutality, Leeds Live reports.

Black Lives Matter Leeds have organised an emergency protest in Leeds city centre this evening, saying West Yorkshire Police used "blatant provocation" during the arrest.

They also claim it is an example of "blatant police racism" and "police brutality".

Footage shows the man being held down on the ground
(Image: leeds-live.co.uk)

Black Lives Matter Leeds announced their emergency protest after the video emerged, planning to gather tonight at 6pm on Albion Street.

In a social media post, Black Lives Matter urged supporters to join them at the protest.

"BLM Leeds will now be responding… with an emergency protest," said a post on Instagram.

Onlookers shouted 'what is he being arrested for?'
(Image: leeds-live.co.uk)

West Yorkshire Police have now released a statement to provide 'further context' around the controversial footage.

They have also reached out to Black Lives Matter campaigners.

A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police said officers were forced to take action after the man had been seen acting aggressively, was removed twice from Trinity Leeds shopping centre by security staff and began drinking alcohol in breach of the Public Spaces Protection Order on Albion Street.

Officers were called to the scene at 5.46pm on Monday, and found the man on Albion Street.

The man was taken into custody
(Image: leeds-live.co.uk)

The force said officers spoke to him for more than eight minutes and attempted to establish his identity as a suspect for those offences, but he repeatedly refused to provide his details, which is an offence in these circumstances.

Then when officers tried to arrest him, he resisted, resulting in police using physical force and an 'incapacitant spray' to detain him.

The man was taken into custody on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly in a public place.

West Yorkshire Police have confirmed that he admitted guilt and accepted responsibility for his actions and has now been given a community resolution, dealing with the offences outside of formal court proceedings.

He received no injuries during his arrest or detention and was released from custody earlier this morning.

A referral has been made to West Yorkshire Police Professional Standards Directorate so that the circumstances can be formally reviewed.

Footage of the incident in Leeds, Yorkshire
(Image: leeds-live.co.uk)

Chief Superintendent Damien Miller, Leeds District Commander, said: “We are aware that this man’s arrest has been the focus of speculation on social media, but we hope that by providing further context people will now have a fuller understanding of the circumstances leading up to officers detaining him.

“We recognise the understandable concerns that exist around police interactions with people from ethnic minority communities, and we continue to work closely with those communities through our Independent Advisory Group to improve trust and confidence, scrutinise police actions and decision making and increase transparency.

“We are also liaising with the organisers of a planned protest in relation to this incident to ensure they have the full context and understanding of what occurred.

"This includes inviting them to meet with us and view the officers’ body-worn footage in full.”

Black Lives Matter Leeds has confirmed the protest will be going ahead at 6pm as planned.

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