Wanstead police officer on trial after being accused of smashing a suspect’s windscreen with a knife
- Credit: PA
A Wanstead police officer acted like a “bully in uniform” after sawing through a suspect’s car windscreen, a court has heard.
Joshua Savage of Hermon Hill, allegedly attacked Leon Fontana’s Ford Fiesta with a baton before cutting the smashed glass with a lock knife on September 16 2016, Southwark Crown Court heard.
The incident, at around 5.25pm, at Weedington Place in Camden, north-west London, was filmed by Mr Fontana from the driver’s seat and shared widely online at the time.
Police mistakenly thought he was a potentially violent drug dealer who may have had a weapon and only had a provisional licence, the court heard.
When Mr Fontana refused to leave his vehicle, the Metropolitan Police officer, 28, can be heard saying in footage played to the jury: “Get out of the car”, and “You’re not allowed to drive it” before hitting it repeatedly with his baton.
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Mr Fontana, who placed his keys on the dashboard, replies: “I’ve got a licence and insurance”, and says he is filming for his own safety.
Prosecuting, Jonathan Polnay said: “You might think it not unfair to say that he comes across in that clip as a bully in uniform.
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“When Mr Fontana was saying ‘I’ve got a licence and insurance’ he was telling the truth.
“They (police) thought it was someone called TJ Dickson who was driving the car. To put it mildly he is well known to the police.
“He was believed to be involved in drug dealing and police had been told he may be violent.”
Mr Savage said in a police witness statement he feared for his safety and that he saw the suspect “lunge to the footwell” of the black Fiesta, which had tinted windows.
He is charged with possessing a bladed article, common assault and destroying property.
He entered not guilty pleas on May 19.
Savage, who has been placed on restricted duties by the Metropolitan Police, is on unconditional bail.
The trial continues