A jury heard today (Monday, November 1) how a police officer from Hemel Hempstead lost his temper and slammed a prisoner’s head against a patrol car, causing cuts to his lip and cheek.
PC Stephen Dalton, now 53, had arrested Richard Smith on suspicion of going equipped for theft near flats in Watford.
Body-worn footage from another officer was played to the jury at St Albans Crown Court which showed Mr Smith complaining: “Big man, I am not resisting” and “I haven’t done anything wrong, boss man.” PC Dalton, who handcuffed him, told him “Stop moving about” and “Calm down.”
The officer grabbed him and banged his head against the rear of the police car. Mr Smith went to the ground and repeatedly screamed out: “Help me” and “My face.”
Prosecutor David Dainty said police were called to Wilmington Close, Watford at 9pm on October 4, 2019. He said: “Mr Dalton is a serving police officer. He was on duty in 2019 when he assaulted a male, he had arrested by slamming his face into the back of a police car.”
Mr Dainty said men had been seen acting suspiciously by a bike shed near the flats in Wilmington Close. PC Dalton arrested Mr Smith for going equipped for theft, but no further action was to be taken against him.
The prosecutor went on: “Following his arrest, Mr Smith was put in rear stack position in handcuffs – his hands were put behind back. He complained the handcuffs were hurting. The defendant took the handcuffs off to allow Mr Smith to take a bag off. He handcuffed him again.
“Mr Smith said he wanted to speak to another male on the other side of road and gently pulled away. He was not using much force.”
He said PC Dalton was holding the handcuffs in one hand and was looking for gloves in another when he “lost temper and self control.”
Mr Dainty said: “He took hold of the front of his hoodie, marched him forward and slammed his face into the back of the police car.”
Mr Smith was taken to the ground and PC Dalton radioed for an ambulance. He was treated in hospital for a deep laceration to the lip.
In a witness statement PC Dalton said: “I tried to control him. He continued to pull away. I felt he was trying to run away. He started to move forward. He was forced against the rear of the vehicle.”
The officer said he took the action because he was concerned that Mr Smith was going to harm himself by going into the road.
In an investigation by police professional standards, PC Dalton said: “He was increasingly argumentative and I decided to manoeuvre him against the vehicle I felt his resistance was building up and I was going to lose control. There was a risk he was going to run into the road and could injure himself.”
The Hertfordshire police officer denies causing actual bodily harm to Richard Smith on October 4, 2019.