A Greater Manchester Police officer has been found not guilty of assault following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
On 18th November 2021, Greater Manchester Police received a 999 call from a distressed female who told officers that her ex-partner would not leave the address.
When PC Cleasby arrived on the scene, he tried to make contact with the informant inside the address from where the call for help had been made.
Footage from the officer’s body-worn cameras was played to the court.
In the footage, PC Cleasby had managed to prevent a male at the address from shutting the front door by putting his foot between the door and the doorframe.
The male inside the address told the officer that he was not going to let him inside the address.
Concerned for the female who had called the police, the officer forced the front door open.
At the time, the male suspect was holding a two-year-old girl who was hit by the door as it swung open.
The officer claimed he did not know the suspect was holding the young girl, and he added that neither of the parents showed any concern for the child and ‘things escalated very quickly.’
The IOPC would go on to submit a file to the CPS that accused the officer of assaulting the two-year-old girl who he had not seen behind the door.
The CPS agreed with the IOPC, and the officer was charged with assaulting the toddler.
Once inside the address, the male, who had not been cooperating with the police, came towards the officer. The court heard that the male was angry after the door hit the toddler.
PC Cleasby maintained that he was unaware that the girl had been hit; the hallway was poorly lit, and the incident happened at around 22:30 hours.
Fearing he was going to be assaulted by the male suspect who came towards him, the officer gave a pre-emptive strike and punched the male. PC Cleasby punched the male again twice.
Following the IOPC investigation, the CPS brought charges against the officer for assaulting the male suspect who had refused to leave the address.
After the incident, a complaint was made to Greater Manchester Police, who referred the complaint to the IOPC.
Following a three-day trial at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court, the officer was found not guilty of assaulting the toddler and not guilty of assaulting the male suspect who was at the address.
Despite being found not guilty, the officer now faces a potential gross misconduct hearing for breaches of the police standards of professional behaviour in respect of authority, respect and courtesy, orders and instructions, use of force, honestly and integrity and equality and diversity.
IOPC Director of Major Investigations Steve Noonan said:
“It was important for the matters to be independently and thoroughly investigated, and it was right it was heard in open court, which provides the transparency that is vital for public confidence in policing and in the complaints system.
“Once our investigation has concluded, where necessary we present our findings to the Crown Prosecution Service who then decide whether to authorise a charge or not.”
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