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Day 7 of the disciplinary hearing for PC Alston, alleged to have used his baton in a dangerous and uncontrolled manner and to have struck Alfie Meadows on the head at the student protest of 9 Dec 2010 and caused him a serious brain injury. Panel due to deliver their decision now.
Panel coming in now.
Panel decision: the second misconduct allegation doesn't make clear whether the strike was deliberate or accidental. It could be aggravating factor. Aware of history of this case. IOPC directed this case. Have put it out of mind entirely a d reached decision on basis of evidence.
Politics of protest does not concern them. People were present and exercising their right to protest. Protest was said to have turned violent. Very experienced officers said that they protest was one of the most violent they had experienced. We had difficulty accepting some of
Mr Meadows evidence that he saw no violence on the part of protest. We struggle to see how he didn't see there was aggression on part of protest. We must consider his objectivity in this context. We did however find him clear in his evidence. Violent protest cannot give officers
immunity to use any force. Fast moving and dynamic protest don't allow for compartmentalizing events. Delay has affected this case. Regrettable for Meadows and Alston. It must have been anxiety inducing for Alfie to go through three trials.
Human memories are not cameras. Subjective elements enter memories over time of 9 years. To be expected. We approach the oral evidence with caution. Accounts may be based on statements and interpretation of footage. Delay means we can't examine forensic evidence.
Video evidence has been primary source for deciding this case taking into account issues of footage. Video evidence has been used for deciding what happend. Meadows and Alston are primary witnesses. They are not disinterested witnesses. We considered extent to which Alston
used his baton. 4 strikes - was it Alston. If so, we consider why he's doing it and whether reasonable force in context honestly believed by Alston. 1st strike was that used to maintain distance. This one was not aimed at anyone in particular. We think he's under attack and at
risk of being trampled by crowd. We don't think crowd was seeking to harm Alston but some were seeking to use violence. We find he delivered his initial strike in accordance with training. He'd been deployed to rescue others. He fairly assumed that if overwhelmed he would not
have been rescued. We cannot say on balance that he hit any protesters. Not persuaded his first strike was unreasonable in all the circs as Alston believed them to be.
Next 4 strikes. To determine why he delivered the strikes played footage in real time. It was to push crowd backwards. We find he delivered 4 strikes but insufficient time for him to consider each one. Dealing with crowd in the moment a fast
moving and volatile incident. Alston does raise it above his head. Alston said he hit noone on head. We can see in footage that he brings baton downward and closer to his body. When he brings it down it is lower than protesters heads. If he had struck someone it would be
below head height. He stood back after. Suggests that he did not use it in an uncontrolled manner.

On balance of probability Meadows was struck by baton even if unintentionally. We found most objective evidence was video footage. Footage shows Meadows at front of protest.
Alston is there and an unidentified Met police officer. Met officer moves forward swiftly and delivers strike with baton. Speed of movement cause us to conclude that this is officer that Meadows comes in contact with. Officer using his baton next to Alfie was Met officer.
Baton of Met police officer appears to strike in area where Alfie's head is. We have relied on position of what appears to be journalists video camera. That helps us to determine that movement of PC Alston's baton is to right. Meadows was struck by baton but this was by
unidentified Met police officer not by Alston.
We are not persuaded that PC Alston committed misconduct.
That's it. It's over. Still no #JusticeForAlfieMeadows PC Alston cleared of misconduct.
So bottom line, it's okay for police officers to breach all protocols, disregard their training, use downward strikes and hit people on the head with their batons.
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