A police officer acted like “a bully in uniform” after smashing and sawing through a suspect’s car windscreen after mistaking him for a drug dealer, a court has heard.
Joshua Savage allegedly attacked Leon Fontana’s Ford Fiesta with a baton before cutting the glass with a lock knife on September 16 2016, Southwark Crown Court heard.
The incident, at around 5.25pm, on Vicar’s Road, Camden, north west London, was filmed by Mr Fontana and shared widely online at the time.
Police mistakenly thought the driver was a potentially violent drug dealer who may have a weapon and only had a provisional licence.
When Mr Fontana refused to leave his vehicle, the Metropolitan Police officer, 28, can be heard saying in footage played to the jury: “Get out of the car”, and: “You’re not allowed to drive it”.
Mr Fontana, who placed his keys on the dashboard, replies: “I’ve got a licence and insurance” and says he is filming for his own safety.
Prosecuting, Jonathan Polnay said: “You might think it not unfair to say that he comes across in that clip as a bully in uniform.
“When Mr Fontana was saying ‘I’ve got a licence and insurance’ he was telling the truth.
“They (police) thought it was someone called TJ Dixon who was driving the car. To put it mildly he is well-known to the police.
“He was believed to be involved in drug dealing and police had been told he may be violent.”
Savage said in a police witness statement he feared for his safety and that he saw the suspect “lunge to the footwell” of the black Fiesta, which had tinted windows, the court heard.
Giving evidence, Mr Fontana, of Kentish Town, said he had grown up with Dixon and that police stopped him the day before the incident to say they believed he had been driving Mr Fontana’s car.
The 27-year-old said he was driving by himself and parked to top up his electricity before seeing officers eyeing him from a car.
He said he continued driving and turned onto Vicar’s Road, where the waiting police car put its sirens on before coming “fast towards me”.
He went on: “I didn’t want to get out of the car. I felt very threatened.
“I thought if I left that car I would have been in danger certainly.
“I certainly wasn’t getting out to a police officer with a knife and a cosh in his hand.”
Defending Savage, Kevin Baumber told the court Mr Fontana was previously convicted over obstructing officers in 2013 and was deliberately unhelpful as a “power play” to “raise police suspicions”.
He added Mr Fontana would have known police associated his car with Dixon, who was “high ranking in a criminal gang”, when he was stopped.
Mr Fontana denied he was being deliberately unhelpful and said he did not know if Dixon was involved in crime, saying: “I keep myself to myself.”
He told the court he had to have glass removed from his eye and pay around £175 to fix the windscreen following the alleged attack.
Savage, of Hermon Hill, Wanstead, north east London, is charged with possessing a bladed article; common assault and destroying property.
He has been placed on restricted duties by the Metropolitan Police and entered not guilty pleas in May.
Savage is on unconditional bail and will appear before the court again on Tuesday.