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'Car attack' policeman now on restricted duties, Met says

Published 18/09/2016

The car windscreen smashed after the incident
The car windscreen smashed after the incident

A policeman who was filmed attacking a car has been put on "restricted duties" and his use of force will be examined, Scotland Yard has said.

Dramatic footage, filmed by the driver and viewed thousands of times online, features a policeman smashing the windscreen after repeatedly telling the driver to "get out of the car", adding: "You're not allowed to drive it."

The Metropolitan Police said officers stopped the car thinking the driver was a man who is of interest to them but realised he was someone else and he was not arrested.

The officer can be seen hitting the side window with what looks like a baton, before the driver says: "I've got a licence. I've got a licence. I've got insurance. You're smashing this for no reason."

The policeman strikes the windscreen, resulting in the glass shattering, and then starts slicing around the damaged area with what appears to be a penknife.

Scotland Yard said a formal complaint has been made to the Metropolitan Police after the footage was circulated of the incident which involves two uniformed officers in the Camden area of north London.

The police force said: "On Saturday September 17, a formal complaint was received in relation to an incident where officers stopped a vehicle in Weedington Road, NW5, on Friday September 16.

"The footage continues to be subject to an investigation by officers from the Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) and the driver of the car has been spoken to by these officers.

"The officers involved in the incident have been identified and have been placed on restricted duties.

"Although the investigation is in its early stages, it has been established that the officers stopped the vehicle based on information relating to a man who is of interest to police. On conclusion of the incident the officers identified that the driver was not the man in question and he was not arrested.

"The investigation will examine the officer's use of force during the incident."

Leon Fontana, a 25-year-old mechanic, told the Press Association he was the driver and the person who filmed the footage.

He said the incident took place on Friday evening when he had gone out on an errand for his mother.

He said it was a case of "mistaken identity", describing what happened as "a completely unlawful act".

Mr Fontana, who said he spent the evening in hospital due to getting glass in his eyes, said it was "complete madness" and that he is "still in shock".

He said: "Every time he smashed the glass, fragments of glass were just ricocheting in my face."

Mr Fontana said he is not sure when his car will be fixed and described the whole incident as "very stressful", adding: "I can't believe it to be honest. I can't believe it. I'm still in shock."

The video has been shared on Twitter and Instagram, where the officer's actions have been described as "mindless vandalism and intimidation".

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