A police officer stamped on a 15-year-old boy’s back then “dropped his whole body” on him in an unprovoked attack at a police station, the teenager told Southwark crown court in London on Monday.
PC Joseph Harrington, 29, is accused of assaulting the boy, now 17, in a caged area near a custody suite at the east London police station on 11 August 2011, after riots in the capital.
The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court Harrington had allegedly put his hands round his neck in a confrontation a day or two before, when officers in riot gear ordered him and some friends to leave a park.
The youth said that on 11 August he was arrested for an alleged public order offence, a separate matter, and taken from Stratford police station to nearby Forest Gate police station.
Harrington walked in. “I said, ‘Do you remember me?’. He said, ‘No’. “The officer denied putting his hands round the teenager’s neck. “He said: ‘It wasn’t me, I wasn’t there, I wasn’t working those days’. He said, ‘Do you want it to happen again?’ I laughed at him. I thought, I’m already arrested for something I haven’t done, I’m handcuffed, in a police cage, what could get worse?” An older policeman grabbed him by his jacket, which ripped, and they dragged him across the floor. Harrington then stamped on his back, “then dropped his whole body on me”.
Asked how that made him feel, he said: “It was painful, I’ve never felt like that before. I couldn’t breathe properly.”
After an estimated eight seconds of being crushed under the officer, the youth said, a woman at the police station told him to move.
The teenager remained in custody overnight and went to a GP three days later. He said: “I was still in pain, on my spine.”
Duncan Atkinson, prosecuting, said that the officers who took the teenager to the police station, and another at the station, found the youngster to be “entirely compliant”. He said: “They could see no cause for the defendant to behave as he did, violently, towards a young, handcuffed detainee. The critical issue in the case is whether the defendant was reacting to aggressive conduct, and did no more than restrain him lawfully or whether, as the prosecution contend, he was acting through anger rather than training, and behaved aggressively rather than defensively to this young man, causing him pain and breathing difficulties.”
Atkinson said the teenager had an “an unattractive record of previous offences”, which should be taken into account.
In a note made later that evening, Harrington said he was aware that the youngster had a reputation for being violent and aggressive, particularly spitting, and that he behaved aggressively on this occasion. He said he took him to the floor, by means of an approved safety technique, and did place his knee on his back, while he was changing his handcuff position.
Harrington, of Walthamstow, east London, denies actual bodily harm.
News published on: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/mar/04/pc-accused-of-assaulting-boy