CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Cop sacked for ‘excessive force’ after baton strike told investigators: He broke my nail!

Anthony Yeboah, who was hit with a baton at St Pancras International, was released without charge

20 April, 2017 — By William McLennan

The picture of PC Crofts included in the investigation report

A POLICE officer who was sacked for using “excessive and unnecessary” force arrested a man he repeatedly hit with a baton for breaking his fingernail, an investigation has revealed.

PC Peter Crofts said the broken nail amounted to assault of a police officer, but Anthony Yeboah was later released without any charge. In mobile phone footage taken by bystanders, and widely shared on social media, PC Crofts was seen striking Mr Yeboah during a confrontation at St Pancras railway station in March last year.

The police officer was dismissed without notice last month after a misconduct hearing. Further details of the case had not been revealed until a report by the Independent Complaints Commission (IPCC) was released this week. Mr Yeboah, who is Ghanaian, was suspected of fare evasion, but the IPCC report found there was no evidence that he needed to be detained and said officers could have arranged for him “to come to the police station voluntarily for an interview”.

Instead, the IPCC report said, PC Crofts attempted to handcuff Mr Yeboah and, when he resisted, ordered him to “get on the ground”. Mr Yeboah told officers “the way you guys are treating me, it’s not right”.

“Don’t hold me,” he told them, adding: “Please…I’ll go with you.” But when he continued to refuse to lie on the ground, PC Crofts first sprayed him with “Captor spray” – designed to incapacitate a person by causing a burning sensation to the eyes, nose and throat – and then struck him on the upper leg with a baton, the report said.

Mr Yeboah was eventually handcuffed and taken to a van outside the station. While still detained, he was further arrested for assault on a constable in relation to PC Crofts’ broken thumbnail.

The report said: “There is no clear evidence as to how PC Crofts’ thumbnail came to be broken. The thumbnail could have been broken while PC Crofts was attempting to handcuff Mr Yeboah. There was no evidence, as stated above, that Mr Yeboah was aggressive or threatening towards PC Crofts.”

It added that “a reasonable tribunal properly directed may find PC Crofts did not have grounds to arrest Mr Yeboah for assault on him in execution of his duties”.

Mr Yeboah was not charged with any offence. In January last year PC Crofts was ordered to undertake “further conflict management training” after a “disproportionate and unjustified use of force” in relation to the use of his Taser in June 2015”.

However, this had not taken place at the time of the altercation with Mr Yeboah, the report said. In one account, a colleague said PC Crofts appeared “out of control” and as if “red mist had descended on him”, the report said.

Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock said after the hearing: “As seen in the video that captured some of the incident, this behaviour was unacceptable and it is important to remember that a single incident such as this undermines the bravery of hundreds of officers who rush to protect the public every day.”

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