Dad-of-three headbutted by police officer sues force for trauma

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A father-of-three who was headbutted by an on-duty cop is suing Derbyshire Police over the incident.

Ben Joynes, 48, suffered a split lip and says he has suffered mentally after police officer Mark Knights attacked him, following a dispute over parking in November 2019, reports DerbyshireLive.

Knights, 34, was sacked from his seven-year career following a Special Hearing into his misconduct held last month after being convicted of assault in December last year.

Mr Joynes said: "It's been a massive relief. I think the bottom line is justice has prevailed.

"It's good that I can now put it behind it me and get on with my life. The past year or so has been tough."

He went on: "It's had quite an impact on my son who was 18 at the time. It's been a tough time for us as a family but I'm trying to get back to normal."

Joynes, who was headbutted in front of his son, said he received an apology from Derbyshire's Police and Crime Commissioner last week but until now has had no apology from Derbyshire Constabulary itself.

He said: "I think it's disgusting Derbyshire police have not tweeted about it (the case) and not recognised it. I think anyone would seek an apology if a member of staff in public duty attacks a member of the public.

"Derbyshire Police should have tweeted about this case and recognised it. To my knowledge, they have not done any of that. Where is their transparency and honesty?"

Derbyshire Live spoke to the police about the absence of an apology with Deputy Chief Constable Kate Meynell issuing this statement.

She said: "We expect our officers to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times and treat the public with respect.

"It is clear that these expectations were not met and Mark Knights was dismissed.

"On behalf of the force I apologise unreservedly for any and all physical and emotional distress that Mr Joynes suffered."

The Special Hearing was told last month how Knights' actions in November were "wholly unacceptable" for a serving police officer.

However, while the cop admitted swearing at Joynes he denied the charge of gross misconduct, saying he acted in self-defence.

Knights said: "The conviction is irrefutable, there's no denying that.

"The use of foul language on the day – I have held my hands up from day one. It was completely inappropriate, unprofessional. I regret that and I apologise to Mr Joynes.

"But when it got to the point when I headbutted him, I still maintain that I felt at that stage, genuinely, that I was going to be assaulted."

Derbyshire police said: "Ex-PC Mark Knights was found guilty of assault following a criminal prosecution.

"Following that prosecution, Mark Knights was dismissed by Derbyshire Constabulary without notice at a misconduct hearing earlier this year.

"Mr Joynes has issued a civil claim for compensation against the force and this remains ongoing at this time."

  • Crime
  • Police

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