A police officer accused of dropping a handcuffed suspect face first on to a cell floor has been cleared of assault.
PC Paul McVeigh, 48, denied attacking Jack Moore at Sunderland's Southwick station in January 2017 after his arrest for being drunk and disorderly.
After hearing evidence was spat at, a Teesside Crown Court jury found him not guilty of assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
He will now face a misconduct hearing in relation to his use of force.
Moore suffered a cut to his chin which required 15 stitches.
Jurors were shown footage from a colleague's body-worn camera of the Northumbria Police officer with spit in his eye after Nissan worker Moore was put in the back of the police van following an incident in Washington.
PC McVeigh, from Hebburn, told the jury he later pulled Moore from the van by his legs as he was worried he would be spat on again.
The jury heard officers were not given spit-hoods to use on suspects.
Moore, who had a previous conviction for spitting at a police officer, later admitted charges of drunk and disorderly behaviour and assault.
Following the verdict, the Independent Office for Police Conduct said: "The jury has determined that PC McVeigh's use of force does not amount to assault.
"Our investigation found that PC McVeigh has a case to answer for gross misconduct in relation to his use of force and Northumbria Police agreed.
"It will now be a matter for Northumbria Police to schedule a gross misconduct hearing to determine what, if any, further action will be taken against this officer."