Many of you may have seen the video widely circulated in the media recently, showing a vicious assault upon a 15 year boy by a West Midlands Police Officer. For those who haven’t, you can see it here.
Although I am unable to reveal the identity of the victim, I can confirm that I have received instructions to act on his behalf from his mother for what appears to be a totally unjustified and heinous act of violence against the boy.
The Officer can clearly be seen in the video knocking my client to the floor by striking him in the face, and then, when he was lying helpless on the floor, kicking him hard in the back (with a kick which could, quite frankly, have ended up connecting with the boy’s head).
That kick is quite sickening and seems to me to be something akin to what you would expect a thug in a street-fight to do to his opponent, not a Police Officer to do to a child, no matter what provocation the Officer may claim to have suffered. Clearly a ‘red mist’ had descended upon the Officer, and his kick was intended to cause pain, not to effect any legitimate control or detention of the boy.
What is actually more disturbing to me however, than the level of violence used by the Officer – no matter how inappropriate and unnecessary it was – are the Officer’s subsequent actions. He escorted my client home and informed my client’s mother that my client had in fact assaulted him (the Officer) by punching the Officer in the face, but that the Officer was (in effect) going to ‘let him off’ because there was ‘no room’ at any local Police Station during the current Covid-19 crisis to facilitate the boy’s arrest and detention. Only after the Officer had left was my client, a traumatised 15 year old boy, able to reveal to his mother what had really happened i.e that he had been punched in the head by the Officer and then kicked as he lay on the ground.
That is the truly shocking event – the lies told by the Officer, who obviously expected that the honourable uniform that he wears would cover up his crime, a crime he compounded in the most hypocritical and dishonest way by attempting to turn it back upon its true victim i.e by accusing my client of assaulting him.
Doubtless the Officer expected to get away with this, for who would believe the account of a teenage boy in such circumstances against that of a Police Officer with all the weight of his profession and support of his Force behind him ?
My client’s mother recalls that when the Officer was relaying his false version of events to her at the front door of her home, he had activated his body camera, doubtless to get an ‘early record’ of his version of events. This camera is also believed to have caught my client’s mother swearing at the Officer when she saw how upset her son was.
My understanding is that the Officer was not operating his body camera during the time when he laid hands on my client. It is very disappointing and frustrating that Police policy appears to regard the activation of cameras as entirely discretionary to each Officer in each individual circumstance. Body cameras seem to be tools which the Police can use for their own purposes when it suits them, but which are not to be obligatorily activated when an Officer starts interacting with a member of the public suspected of a crime. This type of situation should, in my opinion, come with mandatory instructions upon Officers to use their expensive electronic equipment to properly record and document everything that unfolds – for everyone’s safety and in the interests of justice to all, not just that of the Officer who chooses to turn the camera on or off at his own discretion – ‘editing’ out of the real world a version of events to suit himself.
Fortunately, and unbeknownst to the Officer, another camera positioned on a private house nearby was ‘looking over his shoulder’ – and so we all get to witness the truth, which, we can be absolutely sure, the Officer would never have told, had his crime not been so irrefutably exposed.
I am now actively involved in the misconduct investigation and in due course will be bringing a claim against West Midlands Police for substantial damages.