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A Metropolitan police sergeant who was filmed hitting a woman with a baton at the G20 demonstrations walked free from court today after a judge ruled he acted lawfully.
After the verdict, Delroy Smellie nodded to the judge and said: "Thank you very much."
Smellie hugged his brother and left the courtroom, joking and laughing with lawyers.
The 47-year-old was suspended last year after footage was posted on YouTube showing him back-handing a protester and striking her twice on the legs with his metal baton.
He was acquitted of assault by beating after a four-day trial in which his alleged victim, protester Nicola Fisher, declined to give evidence.
The judgment is a major setback for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which received almost 300 complaints about police behaviour at the G20 protests. Figures released last week revealed that despite numerous IPCC investigations, no officer has faced serious disciplinary action and none have been succesfully prosecuted.
Smellie, from the Met's territorial support group (TSG), a specialist public order unit, argued during his trial that he believed Fisher posed a threat to himself and fellow officers. He said he repeatedly struck Fisher, who was considerably smaller than him, after mistaking a carton of orange juice and digital camera she was carrying for weapons.
The incident took place on 2 April at a memorial vigil for Ian Tomlinson, the newspaper vendor who had died the previous day after being attacked by another officer, also from the TSG.
Defending the force he used against Fisher, Smellie, who is originally from Bolton, suggested widely publicised video footage and photographs of the incident did not convey the threat he felt she posed.
"Not one photograph or piece of footage comes close to reflecting the fear as I turned around to see this crowd and its proximity, both to myself and my officers," he told the court. "At the time I thought, this is it. She is deliberately coming from a blind spot. The reason she is coming from a blind spot is to hide her intention so she can approach and attack her target – me."
Source: The Grauniad
I wish I was surprised enough to be angry... all I can do is lol that his surname's "Smellie" *is eight*