A photographer has received a £30,000 compensation payout and an apology from the Metropolitan Police after losing several teeth when he was hit in the face with a riot shield by a police officer.
David Hoffman was taking pictures of the G20 protests last year in London when a police inspector in full riot gear ran at him and hit his face with his shield.
Sixty-four-year-old Hoffman was standing near a group of protesters taking pictures with his press card clearly displayed when the incident occurred.
In addition to compensation the police also paid for extensive dental work to repair Hoffman’s teeth.
He said: “Without the good luck of the amateur video that showed the attack, the police behind it would have got away unchallenged – as is generally the case.
“The size of the award indicates just how strongly the Met were determined to avoid having the facts examined publicly in a court of law.
“Assaults such as this stem from a small proportion of rogue officers within the Met who let down their colleagues by their vindictive and spiteful behaviour.
‘However the bond of loyalty between serving officers effectively prevents these few criminal police officers facing any charges. The culture of impunity that this generates within the police is corrosive, undermines the work of decent, careful police officers and is something that all journalists need to challenge.”
Mr Hoffman’s solicitor Chez Cotton said:
“Journalists such as my client are critical in disseminating information into the wider public domain.
‘Reporters and photojournalists play a significant role recording political unrest, political events, which includes recording protest and, if it arises, police wrong doing.
‘That my client was assaulted by a police officer when carrying out this essential function, and brutally so, is shocking.
‘Fortunately with photographic and film evidence of the incident and detailed testimony, Mr Hoffman has succeeded in holding the police to account.
‘It is absolutely right that the Metropolitan Police Force has paid significant damages, given an apology and confirmed recognition and respect for a free press.”