Thursday, March 17, 2011

16-year-old with his hands in his pockets was smashed through shop window by British police officer

This is the shocking moment a police officer was caught on camera pushing a 16-year-old teenager through a window. Walking with his hands in pockets and away from officers the youngster can be seen being violently grabbed before being thrust into a shop front just off camera.

As the camera operator struggles to record the incident officers seem to turn round in surprise at the ferocity of force used before rushing to the scene.

The damning footage has led to Metropolitan Police officer Marcus Ballard being found guilty of common assault at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court today. The court heard how Ballard was found to have pushed Onyeka Obi through the window during a controversial stop and search on a south London street last year.

PC Ballard approached Obi on Bromley High Street on February 27 2010 after his group became involved in an argument with a bus driver

Ballard, 29, was on duty with the Territorial Support Group (TSG) when he arrived to assist officers from Bromley. The TSG officers were informed by their colleagues that their help was not required but were asked to remain in the area.

Shortly after, two young women approached the vehicle carrying the TSG and spoke to an officer. The women expressed concern about two young men walking behind them, Obi and one of his friends. This prompted PC Ballard and a colleague to exit the carrier to stop and search them.

CCTV gathered by the CPS and Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) showed Obi with his hands in his pockets and not acting in a threatening manner as Ballard approached him. Ballard then grabbed the 16-year-old by his arm to turn him around, before forcibly pushing him backwards towards a shop window.

The CCTV showed the victim's head moving in a 'whiplash' fashion with the force of the push and a witness described him being lifted off his feet and forced backwards towards the shop window. Fortunately Obi did not sustain serious injury.

The judge at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court commented that she preferred the evidence of Mr Obi and concluded there was no reason for Ballard to have grabbed him and propelled him backwards.

On a separate count of common assault, the officer was found not guilty of using excessive force when he initially grabbed Onyeka's arm. Ballard is due to be sentenced on Friday.

IPCC Commissioner Mike Franklin, said: 'As a police officer PC Ballard is entitled to use force where necessary to defend himself and members of the public. 'However, the CCTV and witness evidence clearly shows he had no need to be aggressive - the teenager posed no threat to him or others. 'Despite the teenager having his hands in his pockets PC Ballard forcibly grabbed and then pushed him towards a shop window.

'The officer has made the already difficult task of gaining public confidence in stop and search that much more difficult. 'I would like to highlight the work done by our investigators with the victim and other young witnesses.

'It is not easy to gain the trust of young people, who often feel they do not have a voice, especially when it comes to challenging those who are in authority. I wish to thank these young people for their courage in giving evidence. 'I hope this case gives young people the confidence to engage with the complaints system and police forces so their experiences can help improve how sensitive procedures like stop and search are performed.'

Original report here

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