Ex-Police Officer Sacked for Assaulting Innocent Autistic Teen and Father in UK

Police officer dismissed for assaulting autistic man and his father, highlighting need for appropriate conduct, especially with disabled individuals.

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Emmanuel Abara Benson
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Ex-Police Officer Sacked for Assaulting Innocent Autistic Teen  and Father in UK

Ex-Police Officer Sacked for Assaulting Innocent Autistic Teen and Father in UK

A police officer with Thames Valley Police has been dismissed after assaulting an autistic 19-year-old man and his father in Slough, UK, in March 2022. PC Oliver Downing and two other officers mistook the man and his father for suspects in a reported fight near a petrol station.

PC Downing used a Taser on the man, punched him twice, and then took him to the ground. He also punched the father when he approached to ask the officers to stop. The family was found to be innocent, and the force used by PC Downing was deemed unnecessary, disproportionate, and unreasonable.

After a misconduct hearing, PC Downing was found to have breached the standards of professional behavior and was dismissed without notice and barred from police service. Downing had previously received a written warning for misusing police resources and sending unwanted messages.

Why this matters: This case highlights the importance of appropriate police conduct and the consequences of excessive force, especially when interacting with individuals with disabilities. It acts as a reminder that anyone can be held accountable for their actions, regardless of their position of authority.

The father and son were traveling home from school when they were wrongly approached by the officers. The incident left them "deeply distressed." "The family was found to be innocent, but was left 'deeply distressed' by the incident," according to the disciplinary panel's findings. The family hopes this case will lead to more consideration and appropriate measures in police interactions with people with disabilities.

Key Takeaways

  • Police officer dismissed for assaulting autistic 19-year-old and his father
  • Officer used Taser, punched them, and took the man to the ground
  • Family found innocent, force used deemed unnecessary and disproportionate
  • Officer had prior warning for misusing resources and sending unwanted messages
  • Case highlights need for appropriate police conduct, especially with disabled