A police officer who fired the stun gun at a race relations adviser has been cleared of misconduct following a two-day hearing.
The panel accepted Police Constable Claire Boddie had genuinely mistaken Judah Adunbi for a wanted and potentially violent suspect trying to flee, meaning the force she used was reasonable.
During the incident, which took place in January last year, Adunbi refused to confirm his identity and PC Boddie discharged her Taser, with one of the barbs striking the community elder in the face.
Speaking as his colleague was cleared, chief constable Andy Marsh said he wished the incident hadn’t happened.
He said: “I’d like to recognise the significant impact this incident has had on Judah Adunbi and regret the distress he’s experienced.
“This was a very difficult situation and I clearly wish it had never happened. It’s always regretful when cases of genuine mistaken identity occur and we’ll take all the necessary steps to make sure this doesn’t happen.
“The initial incident, subsequent court case and misconduct proceedings have had a profound impact on all of us.”
The incident sparked increased tension in the Easton area of Bristol where it happened. It’s one of the city’s most diverse neighbourhoods and Adunbi is a well known and respected figure there.
Marsh said: “Police and communities must continue to work in unity to create strong, positive and progressive neighbourhoods.
“I don’t underestimate the importance of the principle of policing by consent. We need and want the public to trust us so our officers and staff can use the powers available to them to keep people safe.”
The misconduct notice alleged that Adunbi was moving away from PC Boddie’s colleague and his arms were by his sides immediately before the Taser was fired.
It states that PC Boddie had the “opportunity to warn” Adunbi that she had drawn her Taser and was preparing to use it – but did not do so.
The notice claimed that PC Boddie “fired her Taser in such a way that one of the barbs struck” Adunbi in the face.
“PC Boddie’s alleged actions constituted a breach of the standards of professional behaviour for the use of force,” it alleges.
“The alleged conduct taken individually or together amounts to gross misconduct.”
PC Boddie was cleared of common assault following a trial at Salisbury Magistrates’ Court in May.
During her trial, PC Boddie said she believed Adunbi was “using violence to escape” and she took the fact he had keys in his hand as a “threat”.
The misconduct hearing took place at Avon and Somerset Police headquarters in Portishead, Somerset.