Ex-PC claims police watchdog 'suppressed evidence'

Mark Gatland
Image caption Mark Gatland has filed a complaint against the IPCC

A former Metropolitan Police officer has accused the police watchdog of "omitting or suppressing evidence" that could have cleared his name.

Mark Gatland was accused of racism by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) after he tasered an off-duty black firefighter in 2011.

He has now made a criminal complaint against the watchdog.

The IPCC's probe into him and two other officers collapsed in July when it offered no evidence against them.

But in its final report it said Mr Gatland had a case to answer for racial discrimination.

The incident occurred in September 2011 - one month after the London riots - during a disturbance with police at Harrow in north London.

Edric Kennedy-Macfoy said he had offered to help identify a teenager who had thrown a brick at a police van - but was charged with obstructing police and resisting arrest.

He was cleared at Brent Magistrates' Court in February 2012.

He then went on to make a formal complaint about his treatment, alleging he had been targeted by police because he was black, and that he was shot with a Taser stun gun, assaulted and verbally abused.

Image caption An IPCC investigator's notebook has a line written in it which said the "use of force was reasonable"

In March 2013, the IPCC took over the investigation into the officers from the Met.

In July, the watchdog said there were "procedural shortfalls" in its investigation.

'Goading officers'

Mr Gatland now claims 14 police witness statements were withheld from the IPCC probe.

The statements included lines that the firefighter "screeched to a halt in front of the police and revved his engine" and when approached on foot "he had clenched fists and was still shouting obscenities at the police".

Another statement said "he was squaring up at officers... goading officers".

The original IPCC log books into the investigation include handwritten notes which said "the circumstances that police were in meant use of force was reasonable".

Mr Gatland, who now works as a train driver, has vehemently denied that he is racist.

"Accusing me of racism is the one thing that hangs over me. It's the one thing you can't shake off. It affects your entire life," he said.

"The IPCC need to answer how they came to the conclusion this was racially motivated and the use of force was unreasonable."

The Met said it was considering whether to launch a criminal investigation into the case.

The watchdog said it could not comment until a review by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman was completed.

In a statement, Mr Kennedy-Macfoy's solicitors said: "After Mr Kennedy-Macfoy was found not guilty in the magistrates' court both the Metropolitan Police and the IPCC investigated his police complaint. In the course of those investigations independent witnesses supported Mr Kennedy-Macfoy's account.

"Upon reviewing the evidence generated in the course of Mr Kennedy-Macfoy's prosecution and the police complaint investigations the Met apologised to Mr Kennedy-Macfoy and paid substantial damages to him. Senior Met officers have recently met with Mr Kennedy-Macfoy to discuss his concerns about the case and have invited him to help their officers learn from his terrible experience, which he intends to do.

"In the meantime, we await the outcome of the ongoing independent review of this case which our client hopes will clarify exactly why the misconduct proceedings collapsed."

Update October 19 2016: This story has been updated to include a statement from Mr Kennedy-Macfoy's legal representatives.

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