An experienced police officer threw a man to the ground and called him a ‘useless c**t’ during an arrest that showed an ‘excessive and appalling’ use of force, a misconduct hearing was told.
PC Jonathan Reynolds has been barred from working in law enforcement for at least five years over the way he detained Jamie Cruse outside the Castle Vaults pub in Newton, Powys, on May 27 last year.
A disciplinary hearing was told Reynolds discharged a PAVA incapacitant spray, similar to pepper spray, at close range when he approached Mr Cruse for being drunk and disorderly.
Mr Cruse suffered bruising to his wrists during the incident, much of which was caught on bodycam and CCTV cameras at Newtown Police Station.
There, Reynolds was filmed pushing the handcuffed detainee to the floor and shoving him into the corner of a wall, saying ‘you are a cheeky f****r’.’
Dyfed-Powys Police Chief Constable Mark Collins said ‘the public would be appalled’ at Reynolds use of force, which was ruled ‘excessive and unnecessary’.
Police officer threw detainee to the ground calling him a ‘useless c**t’
Stephen Morley, representing Dyfed-Powys Police, told the hearing: ‘The facts are not in dispute. Mr Cruse had been ejected from the premises and was arrested by PC Reynolds’ colleague, PC Aimee Dix, for being drunk and disorderly.
‘Whilst Mr Cruse was in handcuffs and being taken to the police car PC Reynolds sprayed his PAVA spray into Mr Cruse’s face from very close range.’
Mr Morley added that Mr Cruse, who was later convicted for being drunk and disorderly, was ‘generally unpleasant’ to Reynolds and called him a ‘bald c**t’ before the officer sprayed him.
‘Thereafter PC Reynolds failed to give Mr Cruse any aftercare and appears to have been generally ‘rough’ with him, using unnecessary force to push him around as he was placed into and out of the police vehicle and taken to the custody suite,’ Mr Morley added.
Reynolds has been convicted of two counts of assault in connection with the incident and has since left his job at Dyfed-Powys Police.
The hearing, at police headquarters in Carmarthen on Friday, was told he had an ‘exemplary’ record prior to the incident.
Reynolds, from Newtown, admitted his language was unprofessional and that he ‘should not have risen’ to Mr Cruse’s insults when he said Dyfed-Powys Police officers were ‘useless c*s’, to which Reynolds responded: ‘You’re the useless ct.’
During an interview on September 16, 2019, Reynolds said he knew Mr Cruse to be volatile, describing him as a ‘lovely lad’ when sober and a ‘nightmare’ when drunk.
He said when Cruse called him a ‘bald c**t’ he feared being assaulted and decided to use his PAVA spray at a distance of six to eight inches from the detainee’s face.
Reynolds admitted he was aware of the harm to eyes PAVA spray can cause at short distances but said Mr Cruse had his eyes closed because ‘he knew the spray was coming’.
Reynolds also admitted to pulling Mr Cruse up from the ground by the handcuffs but denied losing his temper.
He asserted that all the force used, except for a ‘misjudged push’ at the police station, was reasonable, according to a transcript from his interview shared during the hearing on Friday.
Reynolds resigned on June 12 after 10 years on the force and told the hearing that he agreed he should lose his job over his actions.
35 character references were submitted to the hearing for consideration, outlining his ‘exemplary’ record as an officer.
PC Colin Baker, a former colleague of Reynolds, said: ‘He has been one of the force’s best responding officers. Being in the top 10% of best officers [for responses] shows how proactive and passionate he is about policing.
‘He wants to apologise to Mr Cruse, his colleagues, and the force. He accepts he had to resign from being a police officer but he wants to keep serving his community in some way.’
PC Baker added that Reynolds had talked a suicidal man down from a bridge above Newtown bypass during the same shift when the violent incident occured.
Mr Baker and Reynolds asked that Chief Constable Collins not put him on the barred list as being added to it would mean he could not apply to be a police officer again for at least five years.
In a closing statement Constable Collins accepted he was a ‘good and hardworking’ officer but said throwing Mr Cruse to the ground ‘could have caused serious injury’.
He said: ‘The public would be appalled at your attacks on Mr Cruse – particularly when there is national and international concern for the actions of the police.
‘The matter is so serious that dismissal is appropriate to maintain public confience.’
Reynolds will appear at Swansea Magistrates’ Court on Monday, June 22, to be sentenced for two counts of common assault against Mr Cruse.