Andrew Ott's job was to record evidence that student protestors in Parliament Square were violent, but his clever plan—physically attacking them!—has earned him 8 months in prison.
Though far from the only London police officer to be observed beating protestors in the UK's 2010 student protests, Ott is the only one to do time for it.
Vice's Wail Qasim reports on how his own recording devices were used to prove his criminal conduct.
A jury at Southwark Crown Court found Ott guilty after hearing the audio evidence. He is heard saying after knocking out Horner's tooth, "not me mate, you slipped on the metal fence." It had actually been Ott's riot shield that caused the injury, he later admitted. His own recording device also picks up such telling nuggets as: "I've had enough of these cunts, I just fucking hit him"; "I wanna kill this little lot here, mate. If that fence goes, I'm going to f****** batter them"; and "I've clouted a few as well, just to get a bit of justice." Y'know – standard riot-cop banter.
There has been little justice for protesters caught in that kettle in the winter of 2010. Anyone who was there can attest to the utter relentlessness of brutality, sustained for many hours. It all culminated in a crush of protesters on Westminster Bridge. At the end of the audio linked above you can hear people screaming that they fear they might die.
The court heard that other officers, named as Calvin Lindsay, 31, and Thomas Barnes, 31, helped him cook up a story to explain why he needed to so severely beat the protestor, William Horner, who lost a tooth in the attack. The Daily Mirror reports on the impromptu scheming, all caught on tape.
'When Mr Horner was initially stopped Mr Horner initially accused him of assaulting him, Mr Ott replied "not me mate, you slipped on the metal fence".'
Ott could then be heard telling a fellow officer: 'I knocked his tooth out you cunt', the court heard.
Mr Vickers said: 'The Crown say PC Ott was clearly looking for a reason to arrest Mr Horner and he was clearly concerned he has used excessive force.'
Ott then was recorded saying 'Ideally I want him nicked, you know what I mean – for something – if he is here he is playing up anyway, he is right gobby', jurors were told.
'PC Lindsay is heard to say, in what the Crown describe as an "eureka moment" what happened,' said Mr Vickers.
Lindsay allegedly told Ott: 'I forgot to tell you what happened, as he has jumped over there he has said "I'm going to fucking smash up that building".'
Ott replied: 'Perfect', the court heard.
Barnes then arrived on the scene and agreed to joint write a statement agreeing Mr Horner had threatened criminal damage, it was said.
The judge described the attack as "gratuitous, unnecessary violence." Ott, who lives in Rochester, Kent, was convicted of actual bodily harm, but cleared of lying in his report. His colleagues were also cleared on charges of perverting the course of justice, reports The Guardian, but all three still face an internal investigation.
An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission found all three officers have a case to answer for gross misconduct, and they will face Metropolitan police disciplinary hearings.
Deputy assistant commissioner Fiona Taylor, of the Met's directorate of professionalism, said: "We are naturally disappointed that an MPS officer has been convicted of an assault.
"His behaviour clearly fell well below the high standards we expect of our officers, even in challenging circumstances such as the violent disorder in which this incident occurred, and it is right that he was held to account in the criminal courts.
The still image of his victim's injuries (above) was shown to the court.
Andrew "I poked the little cunt right in the eye" Ott broke down in tears when he heard his sentence, reports The Daily Express.
In mitigation, Kevin Baumber said his client had been diagnosed with depression and suffered from severe stress.
He said: "Your honour may feel think on that day he was pushed into losing his normally sound judgment in what was a long, tiring and terrifying day.
"It was a day that was traumatic. It was a trauma that still lives with him."