Nottinghamshire Police officer pulled man by dreadlocks in assault

Loughborough Magistrates' Court Image copyright Google
Image caption Loughborough Magistrates’ Court heard the officer cupped David Thomas’s head and pulled him out of a police car after arresting him

A police officer has been found guilty of assault by beating after he pulled a man by his dreadlocks from a patrol car.

PC Matthew Thompson, of Nottinghamshire Police, was responding to reports of domestic violence at a house in Nottingham on 13 July last year.

A court heard the officer had cupped David Thomas’s head and pulled him out of a police car after arresting him.

Magistrates in Loughborough said he had “used excessive force”.

The court heard a confrontation took place when police were responding to claims that Mr Thomas, 52, from Nottingham had been “incredibly aggressive” towards his partner.

Magistrates were told Mr Thomas tried to headbutt PC Thompson and raised a knee to hit him.

PC Thompson eventually arrested him.

‘Kept control’

The 40-year-old, from Derby, told the court he placed both hands on Mr Thomas’s head, as if to cup his head, as he dragged him out of the car.

He told the court: “I managed to keep control, lowering his head to my thighs and placing him prone on the ground. I believe everything I did was legal, [it was] necessary and proportionate.

“I think everything I did had to be done.”

Footage from the officer’s bodycam was shown to the court.

Charged after probe

PC Richard Blackwell, responsible for officer safety and public order training at Watnall Training Centre, said in court PC Thompson’s actions were in keeping with current police guidelines, and that there were no instructions about removing a handcuffed person from a car.

PC Thompson was charged after an investigation into his use of force during the arrest by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Finding him guilty of assault by beating, magistrate Margaret Bowler said: “We find you used excessive force… causing him minor injuries.”

PC Thompson has been released on bail and will be sentenced on 30 April.

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