Pc Josh Savage: Gross misconduct ruling for ex-police officer filmed smashing car windscreen
PUBLISHED: 11:05 15 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:05 15 June 2019
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A police officer who smashed the window of a suspect during an arrest in 2016 in a case of mistaken identity has been found guilty of gross misconduct by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
On September 16 2016, the then-Pc Joshua Savage - who lives in Wanstead - stopped a car driven by Leon Fontana in Weddington Road, Kentish Town, before smashing his car window with his police baton and using an "unauthorised multi-tool" to saw through the glass.
Footage of the incident, which saw a shard of glass catch in Mr Fontana's eye, went viral and it later emerged this had been a case of mistaken identity - Mr Savage told a criminal trial he had thought that the driver was a known violent drug dealer.
In July 2018, Mr Savage was cleared of charges of common assault and damaging property at Southwark Crown Court, but today an IOPC misconduct hearing has found he breached professional standards by using the unauthorised multitool.
Allegations that his use of use of force by smashing the windscreen without warning was improper were also upheld, as was a charge that carrying the tool was a breach of orders.
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Mr Savage resigned from the Met in advance of the hearing.
The IOP's London director Sal Naseem said: "The police misconduct panel has ruled that PC Savage's actions amounted to gross misconduct.
"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 and it is disappointing that we had to use our powers to direct the Metropolitan Police to hold this hearing.
"Public confidence in policing requires transparency and accountability."
Mr Naseem added that the IOPC was concerned by a suggestion made by Mr Savage that Met officers were "routinely carrying these types of multi-tools against regulation", which he said was a "matter for public concern" if true.
He added that Scotland Yard had yet to assure the regulator that it had taken action to make sure this was not the case.