Police officer acquitted of assaulting teenager he sprayed with incapacitant
A Metropolitan Police officer who sprayed a teenager in the face with an incapacitant has been acquitted of assault.
Pc Jack Beadle, 26, from the force's South West Command Unit, was charged with assault by beating and was cleared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday.
His colleagues from the same unit, Sergeant Dave Mattock, 37, and Acting Sergeant Callum Ferguson, 26, are both charged with the same offence against a 17-year-old in Tooting, south London, in the early hours of April 2 2022.
The teenager was allegedly pushed towards a parked car before being restrained and arrested on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker, the court heard.
The officers were charged following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) into an allegation that they used excessive force.
They previously pleaded not guilty at the same court in October.
Prosecutor Sahil Sinha said the defendants were on duty together “in plain clothes and in an unmarked police car”, when they spotted a group of four young people – including the claimant and his girlfriend – who the officers described as having balaclavas on and hoods up, who then boarded a bus.
The teenager said he was on his way to buy shoes from someone at the time of the incident, which happened at the junction of Southcroft Road and Crowborough Road, the court heard.
The defendants later flagged the bus down after “officers described seeing some form of disturbance” on the top deck where the four were sitting, Mr Sinha said.
Body-worn footage played in court showed police escorting the four young people off the bus before the complainant tried to flee and was taken to the ground.
A struggle ensued as officers tried to restrain him, and he appeared to be punched while on the floor.
In body-worn footage played in court, the claimant appears to shout “don't touch me” as he is being restrained, while his girlfriend can be heard saying “this is pure racism”.
Mr Sinha said the “first three young people to leave the bus remained relatively calm and compliant throughout” but he said the claimant “briefly” ran away.
Mr Sinha said he was then “taken to the ground” and showed “some resistance” and claimed he was punched by Ferguson.
He later said the “strikes to the groin and abdomen area” were “delivered by Ferguson”, before Beadle later sprayed him with Pava to the face.
Guy Ladenburg, for Beadle, said his client “engaged for a very short period of time” to Pava spray the teenager who was “wrestling” with his colleagues.
Cross-examining the claimant, he said: “Immediately before Pava spray is discharged you are resisting attempts to arrest you and you are angry.”
District Judge Tan Ikram said the claimant admits that all Beadle did was Pava spray him and that he was hardly involved, and he told Beadle: “I find you have no case to answer,” as he released him from the dock.
The court was also shown CCTV footage of an IOPC interview with the claimant on September 12 2022.
During the interview he said: “I ran as a joke and I stopped, and then as I've stopped the officer behind me, who is the biggest one and has come running behind me, then slammed me into a car.”
He claimed Ferguson was “swinging me about” before Mattock also grabbed him and he was taken to the floor.
He said he was handcuffed and lifted up before he was “slammed” into a bush.
“The other officers weren't punching me they were just trying to to restrain me but I wasn't doing anything,” he added.
He added: “He (Ferguson) punched me three times quickly, all in my balls area. The whole time he was making growling noises. He was making some strange sounds.”
The trial is expected to conclude at the same court on Tuesday.