A British police officer has been found not guilty of tasering her own force’s race relations adviser in the face after mistaking him for a suspect.
Somerset Police officer Claire Boddie was cleared by a judge Friday, in the assault of Judah Adunbi, 64, in Bristol in January 2017, Metro news reported. The acting sergeant stood trial after she unlawfully discharged her stun gun, striking Adunbi.
The court heard that Adunbi, who serves as the department’s race relations adviser, had been mistaken for a wanted man wanted Royston McCalla on several occasions before and after the incident. Salisbury Judge Tan Ikram said the issue lied in whether the prosecution could prove Boddie wasn’t acting in self-defense, as she had claimed.
“The prosecution failed to persuade me and she is found not guilty of assault for that reason,” Ikram announced to a stunned crowd.
The courtroom fell silent as news of the verdict as the 47-year-old officer sat in the dock staring at the floor, The Independent reported. Adunbi and his supporters left the court almost immediately after the judge left.
The drama unfolded last year when Boddie and fellow officer PC Darren Weston approached Adunbi from behind after thinking he was a suspect they were looking for. The cop said she repeatedly asked Adunbi, who is Black, to identify himself, but that he refused to turn around. There was a brief scuffle between the two, and police body cam video of the incident shows Adunbi topple to the ground after being struck in the jaw by Boddie’s stun gun.
“I was not sure it was Mr. McCalla. I wanted to give him the opportunity to identify himself and calm him down,” Boddie testified at trial, adding that Adunbi was ” … hostile from the start.”
“If he wasn’t Mr. McCalla, then the incident would be resolved there and then,” she argued. “If a person is wanted by police, very often they will deny who they are.”
According to Metro news, Adunbi was the co-founder of the department’s independent advisory group, which was created to help improve relations between police and members of the Afro-Caribbean community.