The police conduct watchdog is investigating an incident in north Wales after a video appears to show a man being punched in the head several times by an officer while being restrained and arrested in Porthmadog.
The footage from yesterday, viewed nearly one million times, shows a man on the ground being held in a headlock by a male North Wales Police officer who then lands nine blows to the side of his head - while another female cop tries to handcuff him.
A second clip showed the same man with a badly cut and bruised face being escorted into a police vehicle.
The force has now confirmed the incident has been referred to watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
The IOPC said it understands officers arrested a man at an address after being called to a 'domestic incident.'
It added it had been advised that the man was taken to hospital for treatment after the arrest before being transferred into custody.
IOPC Director David Ford said: “Footage on social media, capturing part of the interaction between police officers and the arrested man has, understandably, attracted significant interest and public concern.
"It is important that we thoroughly and independently investigate the whole incident, in order to establish whether the level of force used during the arrest was reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances.”
A North Wales Police spokesperson said: "We are aware of an incident involving an arrest of a male in the Porthmadog area on 10 May, which has resulted in the circulation of video footage via social media and messaging channels.
"The matter has been referred to the IOPC by ourselves and the matter will be investigated by the IOPC as an independent investigation.
"We are grateful for the contact from members of the public highlighting this incident, but at this time would appreciate further contact being restricted to any potential witnesses to the actual incident, rather than those who have viewed the matter third hand by video or other means.
"As this matter is subject of ongoing investigation the force will not be commenting further regarding this matter at this time."
The force posted on social media late last night as the videos circulating online gained traction and drew widespread condemnation. Comments were turned off on the police's post on Facebook.
A spokesperson yesterday said a 34-year-old man was arrested.
An Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) spokesperson told the Cambrian News earlier today: “We became aware this morning of a video shared on social media showing an incident in Porthmadog involving a police officer.
"We have since spoken to North Wales Police and are awaiting an urgent referral which will be assessed to determine what action may be needed by the IOPC.”
North Wales' Police and Crime Commissioner, Andy Dunbobbin, called the footage 'concerning' in a tweet.
He said: "The video circulating of the arrest of a male in Porthmadog is concerning. I discussed this incident with the Chief Constable this morning & she has confirmed the matter is rightly being investigated by N Wales Police, who have now referred it to the IOPC for consideration. "As Police and Crime Commissioner, I take such incidents very seriously & will work with the police & other bodies to understand the circumstances behind the footage. Given this incident is now subject of an ongoing investigation I cannot comment further at this stage."
Regional politicians have this morning written an open letter to the Chief Constable of North Wales Police Amanda Blakeman.
Liz Saville Roberts MP, Mabon ap Gwynfor MS and Cllr Nia Jeffreys are calling for answers over the potentially excessive restraint methods used.
The letter reads: "Constituents have drawn our attention to a video posted on Facebook yesterday 10 May showing two police officers restraining a man.
"The incident took place outdoors in a residential area in the Porthmadog area.
"Although we do not know the details of the event or whether the man has been arrested or charged we contact you in order to express the concerns of constituents that the video appears to show one of the police officers using excessive force.
"Can you tell us whether or not restraint methods used have the approval of North Wales Police and what steps you will take to reassure the public that they can trust the police given that a number of people have taken to social media to say that they were horrified by the contents of the video?"