I blogged a while ago about police Taser Assault cases and asked whether the police are out of control.
In the article I mentioned my client, Mr. M, whose case was proceeding. I am pleased to confirm that it has now concluded.
My client has agreed to me using his details in this report.
Taser Assault Compensation
A jury at Birmingham County Court ordered West Midlands Police to pay £26,500.00 to Ivan Martin 54 of Bromford Bridge, Birmingham.
After a 6 day trial at Birmingham County Court, Mr. Martin proved that West Midlands police officers had subjected him to an unprovoked Taser assault and then fabricated evidence to justify his arrest.
Background to this Taser Assault Claim
Mr. Martin claimed compensation after being wrongfully arrested on a false accusation of assaulting the Police and obstruction after officers used a Taser gun on him at his former wife’s home on 22 February 2011.
At about 8:15pm he answered the front door to find 3 uniformed police officers; PC’s Lane, Howell and Willis. The first officer, PC Lane told Mr. Martin that he believed that he had committed criminal damage earlier in the day.
Mr. Martin suspected the police were looking for his son, Ivan Martin Junior. Despite sharing the same name, the two men do not physically resemble each other.
Mr. Martin (shown in the photo and video here) is a middle-aged, heavy-set, bald, black man. Mr. Martin’s son is 21 years younger, slim build, with an “afro” haircut, and light-skinned.
My client explained to PC Lane and his colleagues, “I’m not the Ivan Martin you’re looking for, I don’t know what you’re on about”.
After a 5 – 10 minute discussion during which the Police refused to accept that Mr Martin was not the man they were looking for, PC Howell attempted to grab hold of him. Mr. Martin saw PC Howell move towards him and stepped back into his house. As he did so, PC Howell lost his balance and fell backwards striking PC Lane in the face. All 3 officers then followed him inside. Mr. Martin walked away and into the kitchen and as he did so, PC Howell, without warning, fired his Taser into Mr Martin’s back.
Mr. Martin said that the pain from the Taser Assault was so extreme that he thought he had been stabbed or shot. He described how his body “went to jelly” and fell to the floor face down.
He was handcuffed and, still face down, repeated that he was not the man the police were looking for and insisted they check his personal identification.
It was at this point that the officers no doubt realised their mistake but instead of releasing Mr. Martin and apologising, fabricated an account that Mr Martin had pushed PC Howell away and then, despite being warned that he could be Tasered if he did not cooperate, ran into the kitchen.
Without any further explanation Mr. Martin was taken to Steelhouse Lane Police Station. Incredibly, at the station he was told that he had been arrested for assaulting two police officers and obstructing the police in the execution of their duty.
He was interviewed and kept for 17 hours before being released with no further action.
Taser Assault Jury Trial
I represented Mr Martin and sued West Midlands Police for damages for false imprisonment and assault.
The Police disagreed with Mr. Martin’s version of events giving him no alternative but to take his case to a jury trial.
At the conclusion of the trial the jury found that:
- PC Howell, now of the Metropolitan Police, had given no warning before firing the Taser at Mr. Martin’s back; and
- the three officers involved had given false evidence in Court about Mr. Martin’s actions.
As I understand it, PC Lane (somewhat bizarrely) misidentified Mr Martin Senior for his son and after Mr Martin had been Tasered and handcuffed would appear to have realised his mistake. Given the findings of the jury, it appears that the officers then concocted a story so as to justify their actions and Mr Martin’s arrest.
At court the officers refused to apologise for their unlawful actions and, despite an internal police investigation in which disciplinary action was recommended, no officer was informed of the results of the investigation or had action taken against them.
In effect, West Midlands Police attempted a cover up, which would have gone unnoticed if Mr. Martin had not had the courage to take the Police on at trial.
Compensation for Taser Assault
Mr. Martin was awarded £26,500.00 compensation, which included £8,250.00 of exemplary damages, which is intended to punish the police for their oppressive and unconstitutional conduct. It is only awarded in exceptional circumstances where a jury wishes to make its mark of disapproval.
This is believed to be the most compensation ever awarded in England and Wales for a Taser Assault claim.
Press coverage of this Taser Assault Claim
The Birmingham Mail interviewed Mr. Martin, who expressed anger at his treatment, and concern that “there is nothing to stop it happening again”.
Interestingly, the newspaper story quotes Chief Inspector Debra Doyle, who says that an officer received “management action” as a result of the incident.
So far as I know, that is untrue.
PC Lane confirmed on oath that he was not aware of the outcome of the complaint and had not been disciplined despite the findings of the professional standards department.
Taser Assault Claim Help
If you want help with a Taser Assault claim, fill out the online form below, call me on 0151 933 5525, or get in touch via my firm’s website (www.dpp-law.com).