Merseyside Police have their say on Leeds fans getting pepper sprayed at Everton with a video of the incident doing the rounds.
They insist that their actions against White’s supporters at Goodison Park last weekend were ‘proportionate and necessary’ after the police force came under scrutiny.
Members of Leeds’ allocation away were seen covering their faces, visibly with pain and teary eyes affected by the spray discharged by police in an attempt to detain an individual accused of assaulting a steward inside the stadium.
The Police have since stated, as per the BBC: “At around 4.05pm at the start of the second half, it was reported a steward had been headbutted by a man in the away section on the Lower Bullens stand.
“Officers attended and while attempting to detain the male, other members of the crowd began to throw bottles at officers and two officers were punched to the face.
“One man, aged 44, from Skipton, was arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly and assaulting an officer. He was taken into custody to be interviewed and has been released under investigation.
“When police were assaulted, officers deployed PAVA [pepper] spray in order to bring the situation under control for the safety of fans near to the disturbance.”
Everton vs Leeds United. The Leeds fans giving the police a terrible time ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/hgN7GtPF8O
— Around Liverpool (@scousertv) February 14, 2022
As quoted by the BBC, vice-chair of the Leeds United Supporters Trust [LUST]Graham Hyde disagreed with Merseyside Police’s course of action: “We do not wish to see anyone hurt including fans, stewards and police, and would always prefer to see the handling of fans done in a diplomatic and non-inflammatory manner.
“We don’t challenge there was over-reaction from fans and bottles thrown. We don’t want to see that or anyone’s safety endangered,” Hyde said.
Merseyside Police stated officers made attempts to identify those affected by use of the spray in order to provide relief: “Efforts were made immediately after to identify anyone affected by the spray and provide them with aftercare and support.”
“The use of PAVA [pepper spray] in this incident has been reviewed by our Professional Standards Department who are satisfied that its use was proportionate and necessary,” they added.
The handling of Leeds’ away support by London’s Metropolitan Police has already been scrutinized twice this season.
Their trip to Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge and West Ham United’s London Stadium saw similar disturbances between fans and police with some fans getting pushed down stairs.
The Leeds United Supporters’ Trust were ‘astonished’ by the Metropolitan Police’s claim that Leeds fans were to blame for a crush outside Stamford Bridge last December.
In January, photos showed a Leeds supporter being knocked to the ground following an altercation with a member of the Metropolitan Police inside the London Stadium.
Twitter users reacted as Merseyside Police have their say on Leeds fans getting pepper sprayed at Everton…
@TwaddleAbsolute: they weren’t crying enough
@BlueArmyAlex: Police treating fans like crap and getting away with it yet again
@Alic63Alistair: Or fans treating police and stewards like crap?
@hackettj68: Well bearing in mind a steward was headbutted by a Leeds fan it sounds like it was deserved!!
@bigpoppaforeal: Wish they’d have sprayed me pre match so i didn’t have to watch it.
@bielsabus: I pepper sprayed myself at home for a bit of light relief.
@RupertTrouserss: Worst organization I’ve seen at a football ground, in years. Stewards didn’t want to do their job and neither did the police
@john_lufc1919: Our fans didn’t need pepper spray, the performances on the pitch is enough to bring tears to your eyes
@bostonheadcoach: Why were the police in the stand with Leeds fans in the first place. Just a bunch of hooligans
@_RobboParker: Would rather be pepper sprayed than watch that shite last weekend
@FredgoldMartin: I had a better view of that than the football, I thought I was crying because of the terrible Leeds United performance 😢 #Lufc @LUFC
@RyanHLUFC: But when protesters are blocking roads they stand and watch 😂 cunts
@Catalyst62: Surely they could have just given him a questionnaire to fill in before the next game?
@mikebromham: Leeds fans are scum. Trouble wherever they go
@petermaurice22: Pretty grim story. Why do football fans behave like that yet when I attend rugby league games it is totally opposite. Can’t blame on alcohol. A state of mind
@leeds__united32: Been going to Leeds home and away for 25 years with my son and never found the need to verbally abuse a steward, tear up my seat, swear at the police, throw a bottle or make any racial comment. Just passionate for my team. Wish these nutcases would stay away.