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Cop Receives Suspended Sentence for Mistaken Assault

— May 28, 2024

Officer had mistaken audiologist for a suspect and assaulted him outside his office.

A Metropolitan police officer, Jonathan Marsh, 34, has been convicted of an assault against Rasike Attanayake, 44, an audiologist in Romford, East London. Marsh had mistaken Attanayake for a suspect and assaulted him outside the clinic where he works. The incident occurred when Attanayake called the police to report criminal damage near his workplace, HearHear. Marsh, hailing from Canvey Island, wrongly arrested and assaulted Attanayake on November 13, 2022. Despite Attanayake’s cooperation, Marsh and another officer mistook him for the suspect and proceeded to handcuff and assault him. Attanayake, who provides services to the NHS, was left shocked and injured by the incident.

In court, Marsh was found guilty of assault by beating. However, he was spared jail time and instead received a suspended sentence. Along with the suspended sentence, Marsh was ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £1500 in compensation to Attanayake.

Attanayake recounted the events leading up to the assault, explaining that he and a neighbor had stepped outside after hearing a disturbance. Upon encountering the police, he identified himself and informed them of the situation. Despite his efforts to cooperate, Attanayake was wrongfully arrested and assaulted by the officers.

District Judge Annabel Pilling condemned Marsh’s actions, emphasizing that Attanayake had been compliant and non-threatening throughout the encounter. The judge deemed Marsh’s use of force unnecessary and dangerous, highlighting the unwarranted punch to Attanayake’s head.

Cop Receives Suspended Sentence for Mistaken Assault
Photo by Kindel Media from Pexels

While Marsh claimed his use of force was justified, Judge Pilling disagreed, stating that the mistaken assault was serious enough to warrant imprisonment. However, considering Marsh’s low risk to the public and the circumstances surrounding the incident, Judge Pilling opted to suspend the sentence for 12 months.

Attanayake expressed his dismay over the ordeal, stating that he felt vulnerable and feared for his safety during the assault. The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of proper police training and the need to avoid assumptions based on appearances.

The case highlights the significance of accountability within law enforcement and the need for officers to exercise restraint and discernment in their interactions with the public. Moving forward, it is essential for authorities to prioritize measures that prevent similar incidents from occurring and ensure the safety and well-being of all individuals in their communities.

Attanayake’s experience sheds light on broader issues surrounding police conduct and accountability. Instances of mistaken identity and excessive use of force highlight systemic challenges within law enforcement that disproportionately affect marginalized communities. The incident sheds light on the importance of addressing biases and implementing comprehensive training programs to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

Moreover, the case prompts discussions on the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Building trust and promoting positive interactions between police officers and civilians is crucial for maintaining public safety and promoting community well-being. Efforts to improve police-community relations should prioritize transparency, accountability, and proactive measures to address underlying issues of discrimination and injustice.

In light of recent calls for police reform, the case serves as a reminder of the urgent need for systemic changes within law enforcement agencies. Holding officers accountable for their actions and implementing policies that prioritize equity and fairness, communities can work towards building a more just and inclusive society where all individuals are treated with dignity and respect.


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