London

Car smash Met Police officer committed gross misconduct

Joshua Savage Image copyright PA
Image caption Joshua Savage resigned from the Met Police ahead of the hearing and faces no sanctions

A policeman who smashed and sawed his way through a car windscreen with a baton and a lock-knife committed gross misconduct, an investigation has found.

Footage went viral in 2016 of PC Joshua Savage attacking Leon Fontana's car - he was later cleared in court.

Officers apparently mistook Mr Fontana for a potentially violent drug dealer.

A misconduct panel found Mr Savage had breached standards relating to use of force in smashing the window of the Ford Fiesta without warning.

Mr Savage - who resigned ahead of the disciplinary hearing - was also found to have been carrying the knife, which was part of a multi-tool, without permission.

'Disappointing'

He was cleared last July at Southwark Crown Court of assault by beating, damaging property and possession of a bladed article for having the multi-tool, which is not a police-issued piece of kit.

The incident, which happened in Camden, north-west London, on 16 September 2016, left Mr Fontana with a shard of glass in his eye - and provoked a public outcry.

Image copyright Leon Fontana
Image caption The stop was filmed by the driver and shared widely on social media

Sal Naseem, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) director for London, said: "From the evidence available, including footage taken by the driver, we were of the opinion that the actions of PC Savage should be tested at a disciplinary hearing."

He added it was "disappointing that we had to use our powers to direct the Metropolitan Police to hold this hearing".

Mr Naseem said the IOPC was concerned about Mr Savage's claim that Met officers routinely carry multi-tools, despite them being against regulation.

"If true, this would be matter for public concern," Mr Naseem said.

"We raised the matter with the force during our investigation and we await its assurance that it has taken action to ensure this is not the case."

The Metropolitan Police has been approached for comment.

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