Police officers ‘smashed OAP driver’s window and dragged him out of car’ after he was stopped for not wearing seatbelt
By RYAN KISIEL
Last updated at 12:22 PM on 6th August 2010
For the apprehension of a disabled pensioner, it seemed a little excessive.
A police officer jumped on the bonnet of retired businessman Robert Whatley’s car and kicked the windscreen while another hit the window with his baton 15 times until it smashed.
They then dragged the 70-year-old, who has a heart condition and recently recovered from a stroke, from his £60,000 Range Rover.
Caught on camera: Two police officers were suspended after a pensioner was left terrified by police who smashed in his car windows after catching him driving without a seatbelt. The episode was captured on a police video
The police video, released by Mr Whatley’s solicitor, shows an officer taking a run up with a telescopic ‘Asp’ baton
Mr Whatley, who lives in Usk, Monmouthshire, said: ‘I couldn’t believe what was happening.
‘The police went completely over the top – you would have thought I had robbed a bank. I was terrified when they started smashing in the window and trying
to kick in the windscreen.
‘It’s something you might expect in America but not in the quiet of the British countryside.’
The officers have been suspended while the Independent Police Complaints Commission carries out an investigation.
Disabled driver Robert Whatley, 70, who was pulled from his car after having the windscreen smashed and kicked in by Gwent police
Police force: One of the officers leapt on to the bonnet of Mr Whatley’s Range Rover and attempted to kick in his windscreen
A court heard yesterday that Mr Whatley, right, was originally pulled over in a country lane in Monmouthshire by traffic police who tried to issue him with a fine for not wearing a seat belt.
But when an officer went round to the passenger side, the car lurched forward and he was knocked over.
Mr Whatley told Caerphilly magistrates court, South Wales, that he then drove off because he thought the matter had been dealt with, felt ‘frail and vulnerable’ and was worried he would suffer another stroke.
The police followed him for 17 minutes, during which time he did not break the speed limit. Mr Whatley said he thought the blue lights and siren of the police car meant the officers were giving him an escort home.
He finally pulled over when he was confronted by a police ‘stinger’ device to puncture his tyres on the road into Usk.
The video shows a policeman climbing onto the bonnet before Mr Whatley is dragged out of his car
One policeman climbs onto the bonnet. Two officers had been removed from operational duty
The subsequent scene of the police officers attacking his vehicle was filmed on the patrol car video and shown to the court.
Mr Whatley was found guilty of not wearing a seatbelt, failing to stop for a police officer and having tinted car windows which did not conform to legal requirements but cleared of failing to stop after an accident.
He also admitted having a registration plate which did not adhere to regulations.
He was fined £235 with £300 costs.
Gwent Police confirmed yesterday that two officers had been removed from operational duty following Mr Whatley’s complaint to the IPCC.
Deputy Chief Constable Carmel Napier said: ‘We expect the highest professional standards of police officers and we can assure Mr Whatley and the public that this matter will be thoroughly investigated.’