Teenager challenged baton-wielding police officer to fight during Hampstead party mob clash

Teenagers and polce in Arkwright Road

Teenagers and polce in Arkwright Road - Credit: Archant

A teenager has escaped detention after violently resisting an officer during a notorious clash between police and a mob of party-goers in a Hampstead street.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, got into a fierce struggle with a baton-wielding officer in Arkwright Road after calling him a “f***ing bully” and challenging him to a fight.

He was one of about 50 youths caught up in the confrontation on June 6 after police shut down an out-of-control house party that wreaked £15,000 worth of damage on a £2million home in Frognal.

The teenager, from Gospel Oak, was told to report to Camden’s youth offending team for six months and ordered to pay £100 costs at Highbury Corner Youth Court last Wednesday after pleading guilty to a public order offence and resisting arrest earlier this month.

Before the sentence was handed down, the youth’s lawyer, Ruth Hamann, raised questions about the conduct of an officer who was named in court only as Pc Harris.

She said: “He was the only officer that had his baton out and was hitting people. We were given a number of unused statements from police officers who said, ‘I didn’t feel it was necessary to get my baton out with this crowd’.”

Ms Hamann said there were many youths shouting abuse at Pc Harris and that her client felt singled out and was aggrieved at a “lack of parity” with the treatment of others. However, she said he acknowledged that his actions were illegal. She added that the 17-year-old has undergone a “transformation” since the incident and has kept out of trouble, channelling his energies into work, a mechanics course and volunteer football coaching.

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Earlier in the hearing, prosecutor Daniel Kavanagh told how Pc Harris pulled out his baton fearing he would be hit.

“The defendant was using his phone to film Pc Harris and pushing the phone in the officer’s face,” he said.

“Pc Harris was afraid he was going to strike him. The defendant said ‘You’re just a f***ing bully, take off your uniform, put down your cosh and let’s go for it’.

“Several males then came forward and Pc Harris had to use his baton.”

Mr Kavanagh described how the teenager struggled violently against arrest – kicking out his legs to trip up Pc Harris, grabbing his baton and eventually pulling both of them to the floor – before he was finally cuffed.

“It was a rather unpleasant incident with a lot of other people involved,” the prosecutor said.