Two West Midlands Police custody officers cleared of assault
Two West Midlands Police custody officers have been cleared of assault after a prisoner claimed he was beaten and stamped on while in a cell.
Matthew Robinson, who had been arrested for assault and was in Oldbury custody unit, claimed he was repeatedly punched in the face, stamped on, and suffered “excruciating” injuries.
Detention officer Steve Orton and police sergeant Howard Price appeared at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court today following the incident on November 11 last year, both denying charges of assault by beating.
The court was shown CCTV of Mr Robinson in his cell being forced to the floor and restrained, with his hands cuffed behind his back.
Mr Robinson, giving evidence at court, said he felt “excruciating pain” and “severe stress” after the incident, which he said left him with bruising to his cheeks, and injuries to his legs, ankles and shoulder.
Prosecuting, Ms Faith Ryan urged District Judge David Robinson to not take into account Mr Robinson’s past, and that he had been “in and out of the system”.
She said: “He was not being violent at that time. He was lying face down and in handcuffs. The force was not proportionate, necessary or reasonable.”
Defending Sgt Price, Mr Talbir Singh said: “He was being aggressive and threatening. He was threatening violence towards officers and trying to leave his cell.”
Mr Singh added that Mr Robinson had been banging his head on the cell door, which had led him to be monitored. He also made threats to kill himself, the court heard.
But Mr Robinson denied this.
Highly-commended Sergeant Price, who retired this year, said Mr Robinson was “violently resisting” and called him a “very strong individual”.
He said that he used tactics such as distraction strikes and sweep kicks to restrain Mr Robinson.
Summing up, District Judge David Robinson said he was taking into account all the witnesses, the evidence and the good character of the defendants.
He cleared detention officer Orton, 50, and Sgt Price, 52, of all charges.
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