‘I’ve overstepped the mark’ admits police officer after man suffers injuries during arrest

David Prosser
David Prosser
Have your say

Two police officers have kept their jobs despite being found to have used “excessive force” during the arrest of a drunk man in Hull city centre.

The men were given final written warnings, after hearings for gross misconduct following the arrest of David Prosser, in 2013, which was caught on CCTV.

The CCTV operator alerted the police with concerns after viewing the arrest in Hull city centre.

The officers faced allegations of kicking and punching Mr Prosser, while he was on the floor with his arms handcuffed behind his back.

Mr Prosser, who is now making a legal claim against Humberside Police for battery, was left with his arm in a cast for six weeks, cuts and scarring to his face, a bloodshot eye and blurred vision and headaches.

A Personal Safety Trainer at South Yorkshire Police, who later reviewed the footage, said one officer placed Mr Prosser in a headlock, despite being handcuffed – putting him a position which “may have made it difficult for Mr Prosser to breathe.”

Mr Prosser said the footage was an eyeopener: “Everyone who has seen it is shocked - my Mum started crying.

“You see me get dragged round the back of the van, then all of a sudden I get taken to the floor. That’s when you get the first officer throwing two kicks and then the other officer following them up with two punches, two quick succession arm movements, to the top half of the body.

“When I went out I didn’t have a mark on me and I wake up covered in cuts and bruises with bloodshot eyes.

“I don’t go out anywhere now, I am scared, it has really changed my lifestyle. It really has shaken me up.”

During investigations into a complaint by Mr Prosser, three other officers who were present during the arrest said they didn’t know how Mr Prosser’s injuries had been caused.

When the accused officers were interviewed, the police sergeant admitted feeling guilty, begging to keep his job.

He said: “I’ve got it wrong on this occasion. I don’t feel good about myself after watching that.

“I’d like to say sorry to Mr Prosser. It wasn’t malicious what I did to him, but at the same time I’ve overstepped the mark. Please don’t make me lose my job as the consequences are disastrous for me.”

The second officer, a police constable, admitted using a ‘knee strike’ during the arrest, but claimed it had all been reasonable action in making the arrest.

The 24-year-old had been out drinking with work colleagues on October 26, 2013, and was apparently in an altercation at a bar in Bowlalley Lane.

He was later pointed out to police by bar staff and asked to stop, and when he resisted it led to a struggle.

He was charged with assaulting one of the two officers as well as a public order offence.

Both charges were subsequently dismissed by Hull Magistrates Court as no evidence was offered, although Mr Prosser did admit resisting arrest.

When Mr Prosser, who works in Hull refurbishing properties, made an official complaint, an investigation into was launched.

He said around a week after the incident, other officers arrived at his home to see if he was alright, as the CCTV operator had alerted the police’s standards branch of the incident.

Andrew Petherbridge, a specialist in handling claims against police at Hudgell Solicitors, said: “It is clear from the conclusion of the police’s own investigation that the behaviour, in respect of one of the officers in particular, was completely indefensible.

“This is the sort of incident which will unfortunately do little for public confidence in the police, who are there to protect people from being hurt.”

Humberside Police confirmed that the men had been issued final written warnings. The initial complaint was referred to the IPCC who returned it for a local investigation. They said it would be inappropriate to comment further due to legal proceedings.