Portugal brings charges against policeman in stadium beating

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LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal's public prosecutor has filed charges that could bring a prison sentence of more than 10 years against a policeman who beat a middle-aged football fan in front of his two young sons, with the video of the incident causing a national scandal.

The prosecutor's office said evidence suggests the officer used excessive force in May 2015 when he punched Jose Magalhaes, then 42, twice in the face and hit him repeatedly with a truncheon outside the Guimaraes stadium in northern Portugal. Magalhaes was accompanied by his children aged 9 and 13, with the youngest son screaming at officers to stop.

The prosecutor's office said on its website late Monday that the policeman is also accused of lying in his official report of the incident to justify his conduct.

Magalhaes said police had allowed him and his sons to leave the stadium because the children were being crushed as Benfica fans inside celebrated a result that clinched the Portuguese league title.

Dramatic video footage, played widely on Portuguese TV and social media, showed the Magalhaes family by a low wall outside the stadium as the policeman said something inaudible to the father, then hit him and pushed him to the ground.

The policeman is being charged with assault, giving a misleading statement, and malfeasance and denial of justice. A court could opt for a fine or a prison sentence.

No trial date has been set.

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