Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Two policemen sacked for 'gratuitous' assault on car chase suspects as force sued for £150,000 damages

Two policemen have been sacked for a 'gratuitous' assault on car chase suspects after the men claimed they were kicked in the head and told they would go 'one-to-one' with a dog.

Scotland Yard is now being sued for up to £150,000 for the alleged violent assault and false imprisonment of three men, one of whom had learning difficulties, following a police stop.

Six officers were investigated for gross misconduct after the car chase in Barnet, north London, in July 2009 and legal documents seen by the Standard suggest the Met could settle out of court.

PC Peter Ganson, 44, a former soldier who served for 12 years and the first officer on the scene when model Katie Piper suffered an acid attack was one of those dismissed.

PC Dejan Ralevic, 40, was also sacked and two other officers were found to have committed gross misconduct and were given final warnings.

Scotland Yard admitted using 'excessive force' against suspects Ali Shahbazi, Irfan Ashraf and Idnan Ashraf, then 18, 31 and 33, who are of Pakistani and Iranian origin.

One claimed he was dragged out of the car, punched and kicked in the head several times and left with a broken nose.

'Around four officers then each took a swing' at him with one punch landing, according to the disciplinary hearing.

He said the officers threatened he would have to go 'one-to-one' with a dog and claimed his face was 'scraped along a wooden fence'.

Another man said he was put in a headlock, kicked and thrown face first against a wooden fence.

The third man was kicked and his head was 'banged against the car bonnet four or five times'.

More than 20 officers raced to the scene after the Citroën Saxo initially failed to stop at around midnight.

But an internal investigation by the Met found that no supervisors attended the incident and no officer accepted responsibility for being in overall control.

A panel hearing found that: 'No officer accepted responsibility for being in overall control of this incident and the panel believe that this is because no officer took control and that the four officers each became involved without asking questions upon their arrival and acted upon their own perceptions of the incident.'

The three men were held at the scene in Red Lion Hill, on the edge of the Grange Estate, for three hours and they were not arrested.

They said they asked the driver to stop when they were pursued by police but he ignored them. The driver fled and was never found.

The claim states there were 'no reasonable grounds' to stop the car and detain the men and 'no lawful justification for the use of any force'.

Scotland Yard has admitted the officers did not give 'sufficient explanation' for detaining, searching and handcuffing the men, but denies having 'no lawful justification for the use of force'.

The Met denied all the detailed allegations made by the men.

John Hine, 35, and Florence Hughes, 39, were cleared of misconduct by Scotland Yard Directorate of Professional Standards.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission ruled in 2011 that: 'The officers were unable to reasonably account for their actions and their use of force' after the men were 'compliant' and 'detained without being told their rights'.

A Met spokesman said: 'Discussions with the claimants are ongoing. All allegations made against officers were investigated.'

The Crown Prosecution Service said there was 'insufficient evidence' to bring criminal proceedings against the officers.

Original report here

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