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by Bethany Rielly
A POLICE officer was filmed by his own body camera as he grabbed the arms of a protester, telling them: “I’ll do what I want” after being asked to stop, a court heard today.
The footage was shown as evidence in a trial against a protester who has been accused of assaulting the officer during a demonstration outside the Turkish embassy in 2019.
The defendant, who wants to be referred only by his initials JL, has pleaded not guilty to the charges on the grounds of lawful defence of another.
In Southwark Crown Court the prosecution said today that the alleged assault revolved around a push which was carried out “not with any particular degree of violence” but was still considered to be an “unreasonable act of aggression” against PC Nicolas Swift.
The court heard how the incident took place after protesters blocked the road outside the embassy in Belgravia, London, on June 7 2019.
Giving evidence to the court, PC Swift said he was telling protesters to move to the pavement when JL “pushed” him on his shoulder from behind.
Bodycam footage of the incident shows the officer was holding onto the arms of another protester at the time.
The man is heard saying: “Don’t hurt my arm.” PC Swift replies: “I’ll do what I want,” before adding: “I can use force.”
Giving evidence to the court, PC Swift said: “What I should say is I’ll do what is required to clear the road.”
Barrister Sam Parham, representing JL, said Mr Swift’s comments were “completely irresponsible” and “escalated” the situation.
After pushing the officer, PC Swift arrested JL and charged him with assaulting an emergency worker. The offence carries a maximum sentence of two years in jail.
The court heard how JL was left with minor bruises to his face and arms during the arrest.
The trial continues.
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