A police officer has been convicted of assaulting two black males within two days, including kicking a 15-year-old boy when he was on the ground.
PC Declan Jones of West Midlands police denied the assaults but was convicted in a judgment delivered at Birmingham magistrates court on Monday.
The court found that Jones, 30, assaulted one man in Aston, Birmingham on 20 April last year, and the next day kicked and punched a 15-year-old boy in Newtown whom he wrongly suspected of having drugs.
The assaults came amid a police crackdown in the area, and the judge said the officer abused his power and may have been affected by “paranoia”.
He was charged over three assaults alleged to have been committed over a four-day period in April in Birmingham weeks into the first lockdown.
He was acquitted of one, where he punched the nose of an alleged gang member wearing a stab-proof vest, and was convicted of two others.
District judge Shamim Qureshi said the attack on the child came despite his adopting a “surrender pose” after Jones and another officer stopped him, and bent his fingers back.
The judge said: “The next stage of this incident is shown on camera when [the victim] stops and stands with his hands wide open in the surrender pose. PC Jones then punches him to the ground, orders him to roll over on to his stomach and then kicks him, in my view like taking a free kick in football.
“PC Jones claimed that people have hidden weapons and even with their hands in the air or behind their head, they might reach for something.
“When a police officer can be seen on a video to kick at a 15-year-old boy on the ground, people would lose faith in the police force.”
In the other assault, Jones kneed and punched a man four times whom he wrongly thought had stolen a bicycle, which in fact was his. The judge said Jones had abused his power.
Qureshi said of the officer: “I consider that PC Jones has a paranoia that everyone in a high-crime area has concealed weapons all over their body and I query whether he was suited to this type of work in those areas.
“Being in a high-crime area is not a justification for anyone being stopped and searched.”
The judge in his ruling said the officer may be biased, contrasting with how he dealt with a white person. “There could be a suspicion of unconscious bias, although I make no findings about that," Egli ha detto.
The judge also said the officer failed to obey Covid rules, failing to wear a mask, but threatened to fine one person under the pandemic measures. Jones at one point said he “did not believe in the virus”, the court heard.
Qureshi said: “The videos, some of which were released on social media, are disastrous for public relations and it is embarrassing for the court to watch police officers selectively enforcing coronavirus laws when it suits them to order people off the streets and to go home, and yet those officers are ignoring the coronavirus laws and operational orders themselves. The videos do not show the police in a good light at all.”
Jones will be sentenced on 10 September and was granted bail until then.
West Midlands police said Jones faced a disciplinary hearing. Its deputy chief constable, Vanessa Jardine, disse: “PC Jones’s use of force was totally inappropriate and it’s right that he has been held accountable by the court today.”