Beds, Herts & Bucks

Faruk Ali: Bedfordshire PCs Christopher Thomas and Christopher Pitts cleared

Christopher Thomas and Christopher Pitts Image copyright SOUTH BEDS NEWS AGENCY
Image caption Bedfordshire police officers Christopher Thomas and Christopher Pitts both denied the charges against them

Two police officers accused of pursuing an autistic man before one beat him have been cleared of all charges.

Bedfordshire PCs Christopher Thomas and Christopher Pitts were found not guilty of misconduct in a public office by chasing Faruk Ali, 33, in a police car.

PC Thomas, 33, of Welwyn Garden City, was also cleared of racially aggravated assault over the incident in Luton.

Judge Francis Sheridan at Aylesbury Crown Court cleared them earlier of perverting the course of justice.

Mr Ali's family said they would now consider launching civil proceedings.

Solicitor Attiq Malik said: "The family are absolutely shocked and distraught.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Faruk Ali was helping to put out bins when he was assaulted by PC Christopher Thomas, prosecutors said

"We've fought really hard for justice and to bring the matter as far as we have.

"It's not going to stop here."

The court was told PC Thomas and PC Pitts, 39, from Bedford, were recorded laughing as they drove after Mr Ali, who was walking in the street near his home at 08:20 GMT on 20 February.

PC Thomas was said to have got out of the car and grabbed Mr Ali, knocking over bins outside the family home in Whitby Road, before punching him in the face.

'Bring him under control'

As Mr Ali, who was described as having the mental age of a five-year-old, tried to get into his house, PC Thomas was said to have bundled him into the hallway and punched him again.

The prosecution said the officers followed Mr Ali for "fun" and "their own amusement" rather than any "legitimate policing reason".

PC Thomas' defence barrister Hugh Davies QC said when his client saw Mr Ali running he did not know he was going home or his mental age and "had a duty to bring him under control".

Mr Ali's injuries were consistent with him falling into bins, not being punched, he said.

Referring to the recording of the officers laughing, he said they were not on trial for finding things funny.

Defending PC Pitts, Ben Summers said the officer chased Mr Ali because he was concerned about his demeanour and because he was running.

Mr Thomas was also cleared of a lesser charge of common assault.

The perverting the course of justice charges, which the defendants were cleared of, related to allegedly making misleading statements to senior officers.

The pair hugged each other as the verdicts were announced.

Both policemen left the court refusing to make any comment.

Image caption Faruk Ali was said to only have injuries "consistent with a fall"

Bedfordshire Police chief constable Colette Paul said: "We note the decision of the court and will be reviewing all of the evidence put forward during the trial.

"I regret any distress caused to Mr Ali, the officers involved and their respective families.

"Both [officers] remain suspended pending the outcome of a misconduct investigation which is being carried out by Leicestershire Police and supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission."

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