A police officer accused of assaulting a man after a traffic stop told his trial he feared the driver got up and pushed him into the road.
Essex Police PC Charlie Thompson went to help colleagues after arresting a Volkswagen Golf driver suspected of using a mobile phone while driving on January 19.
There was a scuffle before the motorist, Zeki Badruddin, was handcuffed to the curb of the A127 at Basildon and arrested on suspicion of assaulting a rescue worker, the magistrates’ court heard Colchester, police using Pava spray.
Mr. Badruddin was not prosecuted.
Thompson, 25, said he was alone in a police vehicle when a second police car, behind him, carried out a traffic stop and he continued driving.
He told the court: “There is a very specific rustle that comes through a radio when a fight is going on.
“I’m sensitive to that noise.”
He said he heard the noise and his colleagues did not respond to a message on the radio, which “sounds the alarm bell”, so he drove back to the scene of the arrest.
He said on arrival his colleagues seemed “shocked” and that his “main concern was the A127 – it’s a fast road”.
“I formed the opinion that we were too close to the road and there was nothing stopping him (Mr Badruddin) from getting up if he wanted to,” Thompson said.
The accused said he “decided to take control” of the situation and knelt down next to Mr Badruddin, whose “legs were not restrained at all”.
“He was more than able to pull himself up,” Thompson said.
“He was a very big man and he could easily overpower me if he wanted to.”
Thompson said he ‘gently placed’ his hand on Mr Badruddin’s shoulder ‘just to get an element of control’.
The officer said Mr Badruddin ‘started to flare up again’ and ‘made a very sharp turn to the left with his head’.
“I felt the tension in his body. I felt he was about to stand up,” Thompson said.
“I was afraid.
“I thought, ‘He’s going to attack me. He will push me down the road. He’s going to kick me.” He is an absolute mountain of a man.
“I had to make sure I didn’t allow him to get up.”
He said he managed to knock Mr Badruddin to the ground, using his arm and “body weight to achieve success”.
Asked by defending Andrew McGee if he “elbowed”, the officer replied: “Absolutely not.”
He said he placed his knee on Mr Badruddin’s head for ‘no more than two seconds’ while he was on the ground, adding: ‘As soon as he stopped resisting, my knee came loose and my hands came back.”
Thompson said leg restraints were applied to Mr. Badruddin.
He said he went to sit Mr. Badruddin to “go back through the process of de-escalation”, when Mr. Badruddin said, “Roll me over to the side, mate.”
Thompson said he understood that to mean Mr Badruddin wanted to get back on the pitch and he put him back on the pitch.
Mr McGee said Thompson received a commendation for saving a man’s life in 2021.
Prosecutor Micaila Williams said ‘by the time the defendant arrived the incident seemed to have calmed down’ and there was no need for the officer to get hold of Mr Badruddin.
She suggested that Thompson “ran into a china shop like a bull”, to which the officer replied, “I disagree”.
Mr Badruddin told the court he broke a tooth in the alleged assault.
He said: “There was no reason for anyone to approach me.
” I was sitting. I couldn’t move. I was not aggressive towards anyone. »
After the incident was reported, Thompson was placed on restricted duty and a mandatory referral was made to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, Essex Police said.
Thompson, of Dedham Road, Boxted, denies one count of assault.
The trial has been adjourned in part until Monday November 28 at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court for closing speeches to be heard, with the defendant released on bail until then.