A police officer who Tasered her force’s own race relations adviser in the face in a case of mistaken identity has been cleared of gross misconduct.
Acting sergeant Claire Boddie was found not to have breached behaviour standards for officers when she fired the weapon at Judah Adunbi near his home in Easton, Bristol, last January.
PC Boddie was previously cleared of any criminal wrongdoing over the incident in May, following a trial at Salisbury Magistrates Court.
After a two-day misconduct hearing at Avon and Somerset Police headquarters, the force’s chief constable, Andy Marsh, said on Wednesday the situation was “regretful” [sic].
“Following this outcome, I'd like to recognise the significant impact this incident has had on Judah Adunbi and regret the distress he's experienced over the past year-and-a-half,” said Mr Marsh.
“This was a very difficult situation and I clearly wish it had never happened.
“It's always regretful when cases of genuine mistaken identity occur and we'll take all the necessary steps to make sure this doesn't happen.
“The initial incident, subsequent court case and misconduct proceedings have had a profound impact on all of us, especially PC Boddie.”
PC Boddie and her colleague, PC Darren Weston, had been on uniformed duty in Bristol when the pair spotted Mr Adunbi, 65, walking on the side of the road with his dog.
Mistakenly believing he was Royston McCalla, a man wanted by police, the two officers stopped to question him.
The misconduct hearing was told Mr Adunbi repeatedly refused to give the officers details on his identity — as was his right — telling them he had been mistaken for Mr McCalla in the past.
PC Boddie drew her Taser and deployed it on the community elder without warning as the incident escalated.
One of the barbs struck the face of Mr Adunbi, a founding member of an advisory group aimed at strengthening relations between the local police force and the Afro-Caribbean community.
PC Boddie, regarded as a well-trained officer with more than 20 years’ experience of frontline policing, said she felt discharging her Taser had constituted a reasonable use of force.
George Thomas, presenting the case, said Mr Adunbi was moving away from the officer with his hands down when she fired the weapon at him.
In video footage of the incident, Mr Adunbi can be heard shouting: “Why you coming to torment me? Go f*** off about your business and don't follow me. Stop, stop, if you put your hand on me I'm gonna f*** you up.”
The independent complaints panel found PC Boddie, who had remained on duty during investigations into the incident, had not broken police standards by firing the Taser.
Alan Bell, secretary of Avon and Somerset Police Federation, said PC Boddie could now concentrate on “doing what she is good at”.
“For the past 18 months, Claire has been subjected to some vile comments on social media, she has been subjected to being scrutinised in the press,” Mr Bell said.
“There's also been posters stuck all around Bristol basically targeting race relations in the police, where she has been made out to be something that she is not.
“Race was never an issue with this, it was a case of mistaken identity.”
Additional reporting by PA
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