Dailymail.co.uk: Police who Tasered autistic man, 25, with mental age of seven as he lay defenceless on the …

Police Tasered an autistic man, 25, with the mental age of a seven-year-oldThey claimed he assaulted an officer and he was charged and faced a court trialBut the man’s mother obtained CCTV footage and the charges were droppedLawyer said ‘shows an incident different to that described in statements of PCs’ Avon and Somerset Police defended officers’ actions, said arrest was necessaryLocal MP has now accused the police of making a ‘false report’ of assault

Keiligh Baker for MailOnline

Police who claimed an autistic man with the mental age of a seven-year-old assaulted an officer and Tasered him saw the case collapse after the man’s mother discovered CCTV footage of the incident.

The man, who has learning difficulties, could have faced jail if his mother had not found video of the incident filmed at the sheltered accommodation in Bristol where he lived.

But the footage obtained by his mother, Margaret, showed a very different version of events from those provided by police and the case against him collapsed.

This is the shocking moment  police Tasered a man with learning difficulties - in a case that collapsed when his mother discovered this CCTV footage of the incident

This is the shocking moment  police Tasered a man with learning difficulties - in a case that collapsed when his mother discovered this CCTV footage of the incident

This is the shocking moment police Tasered a man with learning difficulties – in a case that collapsed when his mother discovered this CCTV footage of the incident

Police were called to the sheltered accommodation after the man, now aged 28, accidentally broke a window in August 2015. After he started to run, a PC Tasered him in the back and he fell to the ground.

But the version of events provided by the two officers claimed the man pushed a PC ‘double-handed in the chest with open palms’ and the officer ‘stumbled back two foot’ before the Taser was used.

It was only when his mother obtained CCTV footage herself and handed it to the defence when the case went to trial that the charges were dropped.

Prosecutor Kevin Withey, who dealt with the case at Bristol Magistrates’ Court in 2015, said it ‘shows an incident rather different to that described in the statements of the PCs’.

Police were called to the sheltered accommodation after the man, now aged 28, allegedly broke a window in August 2015

Police were called to the sheltered accommodation after the man, now aged 28, allegedly broke a window in August 2015

Police were called to the sheltered accommodation after the man, now aged 28, allegedly broke a window in August 2015

Avon and Somerset Constabulary defended the officers’ actions and said the arrest was necessary.

But the man’s mother has called for the use of Tasers to be investigated.

She said: ‘If he had been found guilty on the basis of their evidence, he would have been sent to prison.’

MP Kerry McCarthy, who represents Bristol East, said it was ‘entirely unacceptable’ for a Taser to be used in an allegation as minor as a broken window.

After the man started to run, a PC Tasered him in the back and he fell to the ground (pictured)

After the man started to run, a PC Tasered him in the back and he fell to the ground (pictured)

After the man started to run, a PC Tasered him in the back and he fell to the ground (pictured)

She also questioned why CCTV was not obtained by police, and why the case was allowed to progress to the courts.   

Ms McCarthy said the police were called when the man accidentally broke a window trying to speak to a neighbour who was his friend.

She said it was clear to anyone listening that he had difficulties, and accused the police of making a ‘false report’ of assault. 

She said: ‘I know they have later said there was an assault – which clearly didn’t happen – but they knew they were going to supported housing. When he was talking to them he was talking to them about not receiving a Christmas card or a birthday card – he was talking like a child.

‘I just don’t understand why they felt the need to cuff him and take him away.

‘And tasering him. You would understand if this was a dangerous criminal about to go on the rampage, or in a crowded pace and he was lashing out.

‘Even if he did try to get away, this is someone accused of breaking a window. What lengths do you need to go to?

‘There are questions about the way they behaved when the turned up, questions about why the use of taser, and then where did this charge of assaulting a police officer come from and where did the allegation in writing that he kicked a police officer come from, when there is absolutely no evidence of that at all?

‘If that was fabricated, why was that seen as an ‘honest mistake’ by the police? Should someone with a mental age of seven ever be taken through the criminal justice system? ‘This is not a case of someone accused of rape or robbery or murder. 

But the version of events provided by the two officers claimed the man pushed a PC 'double-handed in the chest with open palms' and the officer 'stumbled back two foot' before the Taser was used

But the version of events provided by the two officers claimed the man pushed a PC 'double-handed in the chest with open palms' and the officer 'stumbled back two foot' before the Taser was used

But the version of events provided by the two officers claimed the man pushed a PC ‘double-handed in the chest with open palms’ and the officer ‘stumbled back two foot’ before the Taser was used

An investigation was carried out by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), now known as the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which cleared the officers of any wrongdoing.

The IOPC said that although the actions of the officer who failed to gather the CCTV evidence ‘fell below the standard expected’, it was not misconduct.

A report said the arrest and use of the Taser were reasonable – but the report has not been officially released.   

The police watchdog recommended further disability awareness training for officers. 

Superintendent Richard Corrigan, from Avon and Somerset Constabulary, said the decision to arrest the man ‘was necessary’ and the use of the Taser was justified.

Supt Corrigan added: ‘The IOPC identified a performance issue relating to a separate officer in relation to securing and preserving of CCTV evidence in connection with this case and a management plan was put in place to address this issue.

‘Unfortunately, inaccurate information about the assault on an officer was initially given to the Police and Crime Commissioner.

‘The IOPC concluded this mistake had no influence on the way we dealt with this case, but we’d like to apologise for the error.’

Today Avon and Somerset Constabulary vigorously defended the actions of their officers on August 12 2015.

In a statement, a spokesman said: ‘Officers were called to attend an emergency incident at a supported accommodation facility in Bristol on August 12 2015.

‘A 999 call made to the police said a man was ‘terrorising other clients’ and ‘intoxicated’ and had ‘broke a window in one of the client’s doors’.

‘The caller went onto say “we don’t feel safe, some of the clients don’t feel safe and are vulnerable here, so it’s best probably to take him off the premises as soon as possible”.

‘The call was graded as requiring an immediate response and officers attended the scene and used a taser during the arrest of a man for criminal damage and assaulting an officer.

‘This incident was subject to a detailed and robust two-year investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which found there was no case to answer for misconduct for any of the officers involved.

‘The decision to arrest the man for criminal damage and assaulting an officer was necessary and the report stated both the arrest and use of taser were reasonable in the circumstances.

‘There was no evidence officers used any more force than they needed to.’  

Avon and Somerset Constabulary now has a ‘dedicated lead for autism’ and all new officers and civilian investigators undergo training covering ‘autism spectrum conditions and other non-visible disabilities’.

The force is currently being investigated after an officer Tasered race relations group founder Judah Adunbi, and over the repeated punching of a man who was detained under the Mental Health Act in Yeovil, Somerset.

 

 

Read the full article at the original source

Leave a Reply