Friday, July 18, 2008
Two policemen who were attacked by a 30-strong mob were today recovering from their injuries – with one receiving hospital treatment for a bite wound.
The feral attack was launched after the officers asked a teenager to pick up some litter she had dropped.
One of the policemen required hospital treatment after the attack in Northend, Croydon, South London on Wednesday afternoon.
Police said that when patrolling officers asked the girl to pick up a piece of litter she did so – but then immediately dropped it.
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When they asked her to pick it up again, a friend with the girl reacted aggressively.
A group of up to 30 teenagers and adults gathered around the officers and attacked them. One officer was bitten.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the officers, aged 34 and 29, were now on sick leave suffering from bruising and knee injuries.
A 15-year-old girl was arrested at the scene on suspicion of assault. She has been released on police bail.
Two men aged 34 and 38, both from nearby South Norwood, were arrested yesterday on suspicion of assault and violent disorder.
Shopkeepers in the area told today of their horror at the level of violence used against the officers.
T-Mobile phone store manager Shil Mehta said that just before turning on the police the two girls had been fighting each other.
‘The attack happened right outside our shop,’ he said. ‘I saw two girls fighting. The officers tried to stop the girls, who were about 15 years old and both were wearing school uniforms, but then they turned on the police.
‘When one of the policemen tried to restrain one of the girls a crowd started to develop around them. I think he was trying to put handcuffs on the girl.
‘There were about 30 people in the crowd at this stage, of all ages. A couple of men aged in their 30s were screaming at the police to let go of the girls.
‘I don’t think they knew the girls, but just saw the police wrestling with them and had a go at the police because they thought they were being heavy-handed.
‘Then one of these men lunged at the officer holding the girl, from behind. I think he tried to punch him in the head – he definitely took a swing. Then the girl tried to run away.
‘At that point the other policeman got his baton out and pepper spray. They managed to get hold of the girl again but by this stage the crowd was huge. I would say about 70 or 80 people were now in the street watching.
‘One of the policemen pinned the girl on the ground because she was maniacally trying to fight him.
‘That’s when the police back-up arrived. There were three or four riot vans, three police cars and two unmarked cars.’
Mr Mehta added: ‘Using batons and pepper spray they managed to disperse the crowd but I have never seen anything like it.