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Police officer guilty of assaulting two people including teenager in Covid lockdown
2 August 2021, 16:17
A police officer has been found guilty of assaulting two people, including a teenager, during the first coronavirus lockdown.
PC Declan Jones, of West Midlands Police, attacked a man in Aston, Birmingham, on April 20 last year before kicking and punching a 15-year-old he wrongly accused of possessing drugs in the city's Newtown area the next day.
The 30-year-old was cleared of assaulting a third person by District Judge Shamim Qureshi, saying he used "proportionate" force as Jones' colleagues tried to detain a man wearing a stab proof vest in Handsworth.
The court saw CCTV footage of the attack on the 15-year-old, who alleged Jones was annoyed that the teenager had "broken free" and was trying to run off.
Jones said it was his "honest belief" the teenager had made a downward movement with his hands, leaving him fearing for his safety.
District Judge Qureshi, at Birmingham Magistrates' Court, said Jones used unnecessary force on the teenager after he "stood in a surrender pose", and remarked that the videos of the assaults were "disastrous" for police-public relations and "embarrassing" to see.
"It is noteworthy that in all three incidents, not a single officer wears a mask or face-covering despite being issued with it by West Midlands Police," the judge said.
"Nothing turns on this point in this trial, but I have to make the comment that the videos, some of which were released on social media, are disastrous for public relations.
"It is embarrassing for the court to watch police officers selectively enforcing coronavirus laws when it suits them to order people off the streets and to go home, and yet those officers are ignoring the coronavirus laws and operational orders themselves.
"The videos do not show the police in a good light at all."
The charges against Jones were brought after an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which followed a referral from West Midlands Police on April 30.