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Bitten fan settles case against police

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and Supporters Direct merged to become the FSA in 2019 – so this page may contain hyperlinks that do not work and/or have missing files. Our archived pages are not maintained and will not be updated.

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A young Crystal Palace fan who was unlawfully arrested then bitten by a police dog has finally settled his case against British Transport Police and Thames Valley Police.

Tommy Meyers, who was travelling to see Palace play at Reading with his Dad and brother Joe, was manhandled by a number of police officers at Reading Train Station. While handcuffed and lying on his back he was bitten on the face and neck by a Thames Valley Police dog.

He was alleged to have assaulted a police officer in September 2011, but was cleared of all allegations against him. As a result of the dog bite and subsequent surgery, Tommy has been left with permanent nerve damage and scarring.

To make matters worse for Tommy, negligent treatment of the bite wounds meant he was rushed into emergency surgery to remove a life threatening infection that had developed. Tommy has also settled his case against Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.

Tommy, who was starting his second year at university at the time, said: “I have been left scarred and abject by an organisation in place to protect my welfare.

“I hope that in the future the Police are able to demonstrate a measure of humility and refinement whilst serving at football matches to ensure something like this never happens again.”

Tommy has been supported by the FSF in both his criminal defence and in the civil claim – his case was also taken up by Lochlinn Parker of Deighton Glynn Solicitors. They said they are glad the defendants had finally agreed to settle Tommy’s case and hope that Thames Valley Police provide better training to dog handlers in future.

FSF caseworker Amanda Jacks said:  “While this is, thankfully, an extreme example of excessive policing, too many football supporters expect and accept poor treatment.

“This case illustrates the importance of seeking legal assistance in both criminal and potential civil cases and the FSF are grateful to Deighton Pierce Glynn for the advice and support they provide both us and individual fans. I got to know Tommy and his family well during legal proceedings and I’m very pleased he can now put just over four difficult years behind him.”

Read an interview with Tommy and his family in the The Guardian, from 2011.

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