Cops face public hearing over Faruk incident

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Two police officers cleared by a jury of attacking a severely autistic man because he ‘looked suspicious’ are now facing misconduct charges.

PCs Christopher Thomas and Christopher Pitts were suspended by Bedfordshire Police more than three years ago following an alleged assault on Faruk Ali in Luton.

Mr Ali, 32, has had learning difficulties and severe autism since childhood and always enjoyed helping binmen collect the rubbish outside his family’s home.

He was doing that when his family say the uniformed officers attacked him, hurling him into some bins and pinning him down.

They claim the two officers beat Mr Ali because he looked ‘suspicious’ - despite him wearing a badge clearly saying he had autism.

Thomas and Pitts stood trial last December and a jury heard how they allegedly laughed as they chased after Mr Ali in a patrol car.

Thomas was accused of getting out of the car and punching him and the two officers told their superiors they feared he was a burglar or robber who could have been armed.

Mr Ali’s brother Dhobir, 31, said he had been wearing a dressing gown and slippers and posed no threat during the incident outside his home.

Thomas, 33, and Pitts, 39, were cleared of misconduct in a public office by a jury at Aylesbury Crown Court.

Thomas was also cleared of racially aggravated assault and the judge directed the jury to clear them both of perverting the course of justice.

But an investigation by Leicestershire Police on behalf of the Independent Police Complaints Commission has found both officers have a case of misconduct to answer.

Thomas, of Welwyn Garden City, and Pitts, of Bedford, now face charges of gross misconduct and misconduct and their disciplinary hearing could be held in public.

Detective Superintendent Mark Hodgson of Bedfordshire Police said: “Arrangements for a public misconduct hearing are currently being considered.

“All the complainants will continue to be updated as matters progress.”

More than 100 people took part in a protest march through Luton to support Mr Ali and demanding transparency in the case.