Police officer cleared of assaulting suspect who spat in his face

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A police officer has been cleared of assaulting a handcuffed suspect who had spat in his face.

Pc Paul McVeigh, 48, denied intentionally yanking Jack Moore out of the back of a police van on to the ground and then deliberately throwing him head first on to the cell floor, causing him to land on his chin.

CCTV pictures of both incidents were shown to the jury at Teesside Crown Court, as well as body-worn camera footage of an earlier incident where Mr Moore spat in the officer’s face, after he was arrested for being drunk and disorderly in Washington, Tyne and Wear, in January 2017.

The officer, who has served with Northumbria Police for 25 years, denied a “red mist” had descended, and Kevin Baumber, defending, said the father of two had not lashed out, kicked or punched the abusive suspect at Southwick police station, Sunderland.

Mr Moore, who required 15 stitches, later admitted assault and being drunk and disorderly.

After he was cleared by the jury of 10 women and two men, Pc McVeigh puffed out his cheeks then hugged his wife in the public gallery.

During the three-day trial, he spoke of his disgust at being spat at and said the detainee continued to threaten him as he was brought out of the van, at least 15 minutes after the arrest and initial spit.

Miranda Biddle, of the Independent Office for Police Conduct, said: “Our investigation reviewed body worn video footage of the incident, as well as taking evidence from PC McVeigh and other witnesses.

“The jury has determined that PC McVeigh’s use of force does not amount to assault. Whether or not PC McVeigh will continue to serve as a Northumbria Police officer will be determined by the disciplinary proceedings.

“Our investigation found that PC McVeigh has a case to answer for gross misconduct in relation to his use of force and Northumbria Police agreed. It will now be a matter for Northumbria Police to schedule a gross misconduct hearing to determine what, if any, further action will be taken against this officer.”

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