Two Metropolitan Police officers accused of assaulting a father they took for a robbery suspect say he was acting suspiciously, resisted handcuffs and said they feared he was wearing a weapon, a court heard.
Sergeant Emily Joshi, 30, of Watford, Hertfordshire, and Pc Ozan Yelken, 33, of Waltham Abbey, Essex, have both pleaded not guilty to assaulting Emmanuel Ugborokefe by beating him and are being tried by the City of London Magistrates’ Court.
They allegedly assaulted Mr Ugborokefe, who ‘felt discriminated against’ when he arrested him in a case of mistaken identity in Hendon, Barnet, north-west London, on December 28 last year. He previously said he believed the incident happened because of the color of his skin.
Mr Ugborokefe – who all parties agree was innocent – was on Wykeham Road to collect a microwave he had brought from eBay after a day of family shopping in Oxford Street with his wife and two girls, then aged seven and eight, the court heard.
Joshi and Yelken were on patrol the day of the incident when they were called to report a theft from Rolex, in which two suspects had abandoned a car and fled on foot near Mr Ugborokefe’s location, a learned the court.
Police were looking for two skinny black men, wearing dark clothes with their hoods up, one of whom had fur on his hood, in connection with the alleged robbery, the court heard on Friday.
Sergeant Emily Joshi, 30, from Watford, Hertfordshire, has pleaded not guilty to assault
Yelken said a volunteer from Shomrim, a neighborhood watch group, told him a suspect or suspects had fled down Wykeham Road, saying: “They came through there.”
They approached Mr Ugborokefe who was wearing a dark colored jacket, which had fur on it, with his hood down, the judge heard.
Joshi cuffed one of his wrists and explained that it matched the description of a suspect.
A struggle ensued as he repeatedly pleaded ‘don’t handcuff me’, raising his free hand in the air, before Yelken performed a ‘tactical hold’ pushing him into a bush, then to the ground where he was fully handcuffed, as backup officers arrived to help restrain him.
Mr Ugborokefe’s wife and children were then out of their car and screaming, and he had previously told the court he feared he would be ‘killed’, saying: ‘I believe this incident happened to me because the color of my skin.’
Officers are alleged to have assaulted Mr Ugborokefe, who ‘felt discriminated against’ in Wykeham Road, Hendon, Barnet, north west London (file photo)
The prosecution says the alleged assault did not begin when the first wrist was handcuffed, but began after Mr. Ugborokefe’s wife and children arrived and it became clear, they say he was not one of the suspects.
The defense argues that officers “honestly believed he was the thief all along”, saying he matched the description of a suspect reported to be in the area, that he was apparently alone at night on the road and that he was on the phone and so maybe arranging a getaway vehicle.
Officers allege he failed to obey while being handcuffed which further aroused their suspicions, saying he made them fear he was looking for a weapon when he moved his uncuffed hand to his pocket, the court said.
Joshi claimed that Mr Ugborokefe was ‘very obstructive and resistant and my main focus was my own and my colleague’s safety’
The officers are on trial at the City of London Magistrates’ Court – the trial continues (file photo)
Giving evidence, Joshi said, “I thought I was dealing with a robbery suspect”, saying his family’s appearance “didn’t explain why he was on the road at this time of night”, and adding: “I didn’t know what was stolen at the time and I didn’t know if there were any weapons involved.
She said ‘robbery is a violent offence’ and ‘the suspects are known to carry weapons’, saying Mr Ugborokefe was ‘very obstructive and resistant and my main focus was my own and my colleague’s safety “, adding that she thought he was a” danger. myself and my colleague.
She said she fell over a wall during the struggle to handcuff him.
During cross-examination, prosecutor Richard Milne asked if it would be ‘unusual’ or ‘extraordinary’ for a suspect to take his young children on a robbery.
Joshi replied, “We’ve had incidents where people take their children to commit crimes.”
Yelken, who told the court he joined the force after the London Bridge terror attack in 2017, told the court he had “a sincere belief that my colleague and I were in danger”, saying: ” He’s a robbery suspect and he could potentially pull out a gun.’
He said “Barnet, the area we work in is well known for robberies with weapons”, adding: “I thought he might have pulled out a gun and hurt us.”
Yelken said, “I thought he was calling an Uber or a family member to pick him up.”
The trial continues.