Man ‘screamed in agony’ when police officer snapped his arm during visit to Liverpool home

Merseyside Police had been called to the Walton home of John Kennedy for a welfare check in June 2017 - but he required surgery after the incident Credit: Liverpool Echo

An innocent man whose arm was "violently and excessively" bent up his back by a police officer until it snapped with a "loud pop" has received £50,000 from the force.

John Kennedy was left in excruciating pain after officers detained him while performing a welfare check due to fears over his mental health.

His arm was broken so badly he required surgery after the incident, at his home in Walton in Liverpool, on 6 June 2017.

Mr Kennedy was then prosecuted by Merseyside Police, who said he had assaulted the police officer's colleague by "shoulder barging" him.

He was found not guilty following a trial, and a district judge noted neither officer had activated their body worn cameras, adding their explanation for not doing so was "not credible".

Merseyside Police deny the two officers, PC Richard Hughes and PC Gavin Price, did anything wrong and it has not taken disciplinary action against them.

The bruising on Mr Kennedy's arm. Credit: Liverpool Echo

After clearing his name in the criminal courts, Mr Kennedy began a case in the civil courts where he won a contested lawsuit against Merseyside Police involving a full jury.

After the case was decided in Mr Kennedy's favour at Liverpool County Court, Merseyside Police agreed to pay £50,000 in damages for false imprisonment, assault and malicious prosecution as well as potentially tens of thousands more in legal fees.Mr Kennedy said: "It's been a gruelling challenge to cope with.

'It's been a five year journey. You don't just shake things like that off straight away.

"It's been a long healing process as well."

In the civil case, the jury were asked to answer several questions, including: "Has Mr Kennedy proved so that it is more likely than not that PC Hughes forcefully, violently and excessively extended and rotated Mr Kennedy's arm so that it fractured?" - to which it answered "yes".The jury also concluded that the police had failed to prove on the balance of probabilities that Mr Kennedy shoulder barged PC Price.

Merseyside Police continues to deny the two officers did anything wrong and has not taken disciplinary action against them.

Police we called to Mr Kennedy's home, after he had posted a status on Facebook suggesting he planned to take an overdose.

Two officers attended several hours later, at around 6.30am, 6 June 2017 and "tried to force the door open".

Mr Kennedy, who has a diagnosis of cyclothymia, a condition similar to bipolar disorder, answered the door and told them to leave, and according to police logs the officers felt he did not appear to be in danger and left the scene.

But, two different uniformed officers, PC Hughes and PC Price, were again despatched at 12.50pm that day.Mr Kennedy said he saw the officers from his bedroom window and went to answer the door, but found it was jammed, possibly due to the previous two officers damaging the Yale lock as they attempted to force it.

Mr Kennedy claimed the new officers then kicked the door open and entered, although Merseyside Police claimed they were invited inside.The jury were told the officers followed Mr Kennedy into his living room and asked him about the Facebook post, and he confirmed he had written it.

Mr Kennedy told the officers he wanted them to leave and was "shouted at" to sit down.

He told the officers to "get out, I don't want you to be here" at which point PC Hughes "tripped him up" and "forcefully" threw him towards the couch, where he fell with his face pressed between two cushions and his knees on the floor.In court, PC Hughes claimed he placed Mr Kennedy in an "entangled arm lock" after the then 26-year-old became aggressive and "charged" at PC Price, and that he accidentally broke his arm when Mr Kennedy fell onto the couch.However Mr Kennedy said in his statement: "I could feel weight being pressed down into my back.

"I couldn't see what it was, but from what I felt, I believe it was PC Hughes' knee, pressing his body weight down onto me and I felt my left arm being twisted behind my back and pulled upwards away from my body..."I then heard and felt my left arm 'pop', causing me to experience the worst pain that I had ever experienced in my entire life: it was excruciating.

"The pain was coming from between my shoulder and my elbow.

"I tried my best to tell the Officer to get off me but I struggled to do this, because I couldn't breathe properly."My right arm was free and I began tapping it strenuously on the couch as a sign for him to get off me. I was trying to say 'you've broke my arm, let me go'.

"I was terrified."

John Kennedy had to have surgery on his broken arm. Credit: Liverpool Echo

When PC Hughes eventually released Mr Kennedy, who was "screaming in agony", the court heard he said: "I've not hurt you that much."An ambulance was called for Mr Kennedy which took him to the Royal Liverpool Hospital for treatment.

As he the left the hospital in a cast he was approached by two police officers and arrested.

He said: "To my shock and horror, I was told that I was under arrest for assaulting a Police Officer; I couldn't believe what I was hearing."I was frightened and gobsmacked at the prospect of being arrested and spending time at the Police Station on a false charge."Mr Kennedy said he required physio and was left in considerable pain after his surgery, which involved metal plates being inserted into his arm.

Mr Kennedy's solicitor, Iain Gould, a solicitor at DPP law specialising in claims against the police, said: "The officers who visited John’s house on the night of this incident were there to ensure his welfare only; he is a man of very good character, who had never been accused of any criminal offence."Yet the officers behaved towards him with aggression and contempt, culminating in them not only suffocating him against his own couch and breaking his arm but then [bringing a false charge] of assaulting them."John had to face the terrible stress of not only incarceration in a Police cell and an interview under criminal caution, for an offence for which he could have been sent to prison were the charges true, but also two trials at which Merseyside Police marshalled the sworn testimony of multiple officers and the expert advocacy of lawyers in an attempt first to falsely convict John (at the Magistrates Court) and then to strenuously deny his legitimate claim for compensation (at the County Court)."However Merseyside Police defended the actions of its officers.

Deputy Chief Constable Ian Critchley said: "We acknowledge the judgment of the court."Officers were called to reports of concern for the welfare of a male and were acting in the best interests of the individual."We received a subsequent complaint about the conduct of the officers which was investigated and not upheld.

"No further action rightly has been taken, and I thank and commend the officers for their actions in saving someone’s life. This shows the incredible selfless work of our staff every day."

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