Met police officer sacked after punching handcuffed black child in the face

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The Guardian

A Metropolitan police officer who punched a handcuffed black child in the face has been sacked.

PC Steven Martin, who was serving in the firearms command, also verbally abused the 15-year-old despite him not resisting, as he tried to arrest him, believing he was a suspect in a knifepoint robbery.

The boy was charged but the case against him was later dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.

A discipline panel found Martin guilty of gross misconduct, with Martin throwing the punch when the boy was on the floor and handcuffed. The police watchdog said the child was not resisting at the time.

The incident happened on 28 February 2021. Police were looking for three youths in Leyton, east London, believed to be armed with knives and wanted for attempted robbery.

As well as the punch, Martin is alleged to have called the boy “a fucking scumbag”.

Martin failed to mention the punch in his initial account of the incident. It was caught on his body-worn video. He claimed the use of violence was an accident.

He pleaded guilty to common assault in January 2022 and was sentenced to a curfew order for 14 weeks and ordered to pay costs.

Sal Naseem of the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which investigated the case, said: “Following our independent investigation, we found a case to answer on the basis that the force used appeared to exceed what was required in the circumstances as the boy had given himself up and was not resisting.”

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Martin is the latest in a stream of officers charged, convicted or sacked from the Met, whose reputation has been damaged by a flurry of scandals, denting public confidence in Britain’s biggest force.

DS Thomas Williams, from the Met’s specialist firearms command, said: “While the use of force is an unavoidable aspect of frontline policing it must be appropriate and proportionate, and officers are rightly scrutinised for their actions.

“I hope this demonstrates to Londoners that such behaviour is not acceptable from our officers and will be dealt with through the appropriate channels.”

The case came to light after the boy’s mother complained.

Martin will be placed on a list of former officers who will never be allowed to serve in the police again.

July 15, 2022 at 09:56PM Vikram Dodd Police and crime correspondent

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