REGIONAL: Police officer who made boy scream in pain keeps job despite misconduct ruling

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A police officer who repeatedly pushed a schoolboy’s pressure points when he resisted arrest, causing him to scream in pain, has been found guilty of misconduct but has kept his job.

Daniel Patterson pressed behind the 15-year-old’s ear five times while he and three other officers restrained him, a Sussex Police misconduct hearing was told.

The panel heard the boy was lying face down on the floor with his arms underneath his body at the time and posed a minimal threat.

The Brighton-based constable was found guilty of misconduct - but not gross misconduct - and was issued with a written warning, the force said.

He was not suspended while the professional standards department investigation took place.

Patterson, a serving officer for nine years, was cleared of using unnecessary force when he punched the boy in the face and ‘kicked’ him.

Officers were called to a house on January 18 last year by a father who said his son was ‘bashing on the door’, a hearing at the force’s headquarters in Lewes, East Sussex, was told on Wednesday.

Patterson and three other constables tried to restrain the 6ft teenager on the pavement when he resisted arrest for breach of the peace.

But when the boy broke free, Patterson said he had to ‘step in’ and use ‘brute force’ to regain control.

He said the boy made physical threats and the officer feared he would spit at them or head butt the pavement, describing the punch he threw as a ‘distraction technique’.

He also claimed he thought the boy was trying to get to his feet.

But two colleagues raised concerns about his actions.

In a statement read to the hearing, PC Janet Summers said: ‘I don’t understand why he punched him.

’I have been in this job for 10 years and I have never seen an officer do that. It made [the boy] more angry.’

PC Rachel Standing, an officer for 13 years, said she was ‘shocked’ when Patterson ‘kicked [the boy] in the face’ immediately after punching him, adding: ’I didn’t think the situation justified the level of force.’

In body-worn camera footage played to the panel, the boy demands Patterson’s badge number and asks why he was punched.

He can be heard shouting: ‘I’m going to f****** smash your face in, you mark my words’, calling the officers ‘piggy c****’ and Patterson a ‘pussy’.

Meanwhile another officer tries to apply leg restraints.

The boy screams and cries when Patterson puts pressure behind his ear, yelling: ‘Stop’ and ‘my ear, my ear, I can’t feel my ear, I can’t hear, get off my ear’ to which Patterson tells him to ‘shut up’.

The boy shouts: ‘Please get off, I’m not resisting, I’m not doing anything. What is wrong with you?’ before PC Standing tells Patterson to ‘let go’.

Giving evidence, PC Standing said: ‘He was already on the ground. There were four of us. He was only 15. We had some control. I told [Patterson] to stop because he was hurting him.’

The boy continued to struggle in custody and a nurse who examined him said he had pain in his jaw and red marks on his face.

This was the second time that day police had been called to the home. There was a history of problems dating back three years when the boy started smoking cannabis regularly, the panel heard.

His parents and social services were not prepared to ‘deal’ with the teenager - whose identity is protected by reporting restrictions - leaving him to be handled by police.

Pc Standing said: ‘He couldn’t understand why his mum and dad were throwing him out. He was not working with us at all.

‘When you are doing all this it happens so quickly. To explain it in a statement and to get members of the public to understand what we do is very difficult.’

The boy apologised for his behaviour and was not prosecuted.

Giving evidence, Patterson said a ‘fraction of a second of thought’ went into his decision to punch the boy and admitted his communication with other officers had been ‘poor’.

He said he intended to put his foot on the boy’s shoulder, not his face.

He conceded he applied pressure more times than he originally thought but it was not malicious, adding: ‘He was out of control. All we are getting is attitude and abuse.

‘I do believe this was proportionate. He was clearly a problem.’