A West Midlands man has successfully sued the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police for damages for assault, wrongful arrest and unlawful detention for an assault when he was aged just 17. Ryan Clayton of Shenley Fields Birmingham settled his claim on 8 July 2020 for £15,000 plus legal costs.
On 8 May 2014 whilst walking home with two friends, he was subjected to an unlawful arrest and assault by Officer Andrew J Tanner of West Midlands Police. Clayton was physically restrained, punched twice in the head and pepper sprayed. Officer Tanner claimed that he had a reasonable suspicion that Mr Clayton was going equipped to steal and that he lawfully attempted to search Clayton when Clayton became violent.
Clayton denied the allegation made by the officer that he was being violent, insisting that he was only acting in self-defence as the officer attacked and pepper sprayed him and that at no stage did the officer attempt to search him. Officer Tanner admitted to punching Clayton twice in the head and pepper spraying him, but claimed that the force used was lawfully justified.
Clayton was arrested by Officer Tanner on suspicion of assaulting him and for being in possession of cannabis. Clayton was immediately detained at the police station for 14 hours. Clayton was not in possession of cannabis, but in possession of a tobacco grinder.
However, there were serious doubts about Officer Tanner’s claims when Clayton’s friend, who was present at the time of the attack, provided a written statement to a police Sergeant, which contradicted the officer’s account. Crucially, his friend’s statement was obtained whilst Clayton was in police custody following his immediate arrest, therefore Clayton did not have the opportunity to tell his friend what to say.
Following the statement from Mr Clayton’s friend, Clayton was released from detention with no further action.
Clayton said, “This was a shocking abuse of power. Psychologically, I now feel unsafe and very let down. I am now less trusting of police officers. I get very distressed whenever I see a police officer even now almost 6 years after being attacked for no reason by Officer Tanner. I am also very unhappy that officer Tanner lied about what happened and was not disciplined in fact it looks as if he has since been promoted which makes me feel betrayed embarrassed and disappointed. I feel betrayed because my complaint was not upheld.”
“This was a totally unprovoked attack on Ryan which was without justification. Ryan had been walking home with two friends, when he was set upon by the officer, then arrested by the officer without a reasonable suspicion of any criminality. Had it not been for the witness statement provided to the police by his friend who was present at the time, the outcome in this case is likely to have been much different. Crucially, that witness statement exonerating Ryan, was provided to the police by his friend whilst Ryan was in police custody. The statement supported Ryan’s version of events, without Ryan having the opportunity to collude with his friend. I therefore give credit to that female officer who took the time to sympathetically listen to my client’s objections whilst he was in police custody, and arranged the crucial interview of his friend who was able to prove that he was entirely innocent.”
To view the ITV Central News report click here.
“This was an egregious abuse of police powers. My then 17-year-old client, was subjected to a disgraceful unprovoked attack by the officer in front of his two friends. He was violently wrestled to the ground, punched in the face and pepper sprayed. He was wrongfully arrested and unlawfully detained.
“I and my client thank PC Price 6432, who broke rank and listened to my client’s protestations while banged up in a police cell. PC Price went to his friend’s home and brought him to the police station for interview.
“His police statement corroborated my client’s version of events, resulting in my client’s release from detention 14 hours after his arrest with no further action.
“Unfortunately, the police complaint investigation was a complete whitewash. Therefore, Inspector Andrew Tanner is still serving. Therefore this is a victory of sorts.”