Note: we are republishing this story amid nationwide discussion regarding police accountability and the relationship between police officers and their communities.
A lawyer is calling for Britain’s "hardest cop" to be punished for defending his life with a 50,000-volt Taser against a man wielding a machete.
56-year-old Muhammad Rodwan slashed PC Stuart Outten using a two-foot-long machete in Leyton, East London, prompting Outten to Taser him in self-defense. However, Solicitor Sophie Khan has defended Rodwan, claiming he acted in "self-defense" because of Outten’s use of "excessive force."
Khan tweeted that she was surprised that the Metropolitan Police "haven't started disciplinary action against PC Outten for assault and battery on Muhammad Rodwan." Khan has previously defended people who have been injured by Tasers and campaigns against excessive use of force. She stated that the officer's actions "were in part found to be excessive use of force." She stated that the case shows that "there remains a risk to public by police misuse of Taser." Khan was slammed by Met Police officials for her statements, and they defended Outten’s actions.
Ken Marsh, the Met Police Federation chairman, said: "This police officer stopped a man lawfully and politely asked him to get out of the vehicle because he did not have insurance. He responded by getting out a machete and brutally attacking him and my colleague very nearly lost his life. If it wasn't for that Taser, he would have died.”
"These comments are utterly despicable – she is not only inciting violence, but she is condemning a hero who detained a dangerous offender while he was fighting for his life," he added. Mrs. Justice Carr rejected the idea that PC Outten had used excessive force. The judge told Rodwan: "This was a brutal and shocking attack. I reject the unattractive submission that [PC Outten] was using excessive force in circumstances when you had assaulted him and forcibly resisted arrest."
29-year-old Outten pulled over Rodwan for driving a van without insurance when Rodwan slashed him in the head. To save himself, Outten zapped Rodwan with a 50,000-volt Taser twice.
PC Outten sustained six head wounds, skull fractures, an arm injury, and broken fingers. He was caught on camera kneeling on the ground bleeding heavily and shouting at a passer-by to pass him his radio so that he could call an ambulance.
A jury found Rodwan guilty of wounding with intent but cleared him of the charges of attempted murder and possession of an offensive weapon. It was later revealed that Rodwan had previously served time for another machete attack.
He served a nine-year sentence in 1996 for attacking two men with a machete in his east London flat. Both victims underwent surgery following the attack, with one having his hand almost chopped off. He has multiple convictions dating back to when he was 18 when he served a three-year sentence after he was convicted of rape in 1983.
However, the judge ruled Rodwan’s history of violence inadmissible in court. Outten stated that he was lucky to survive and joked that he was thankful that his head was hard enough to withstand the violence.
"On that night I was just doing my job, doing what I'm trained to do, but more importantly making sure I didn't die, because that was a distinct possibility had the attack carried on. Once he's started hitting me in the head with the machete, then I realized it was escalating very quickly and I was having to now fight for my life," Outten said.
Rodwan told police that he was acting in self-defense: "My life is worth more than his life."
Rodwan could face life in prison when he was sentenced on Friday.
Sources: The Sun