Police officers 'smashed OAP driver's window and dragged him out of car' after he was stopped for not wearing seatbelt

Two policemen were suspended after a disabled pensioner claimed he was left terrified by officers who smashed his car window after catching him driving without a seatbelt.

When stroke victim Robert Whatley, 70, was pulled over in his Range Rover, he expected a brief discussion with the officers.

But he claims he was forced to cover his face and was showered with glass as one officer jumped on to the bonnet and kicked his windscreen while another repeatedly attacked the window with a baton.
The ensuing action was caught on film by a police camera placed on the patrol car's dashboard.

The police video, released by Mr Whatley's solicitor, shows an officer taking a run up with a telescopic 'Asp' baton.

It also apparently captures the officer hitting the side window 15 times before it smashes and shows a policeman climbing onto the bonnet before Mr Whatley is dragged out of his car.
Retired businessman Mr Whatley said: 'I couldn't believe what was happening.
'The police went completely over the top - you would have thought I had robbed a bank.

'I was terrified when they started smashing in the window and trying to kick in the windscreen. I tried to shield myself but I was showered with glass which could easily have gone into my eyes.

'It's something you might expect in America but not in the quiet of the British countryside.'

The elderly man, who has a heart condition, was initially pulled over for not wearing a seat belt as he drove through the country lanes of South Wales.

Officers tried to issue him with a fixed penalty notice but Mr Whatley drove off.

Two Gwent police officers followed him along eight miles of country lanes for 17 minutes before trying to stop the £60,000 Range Rover with a stinger device.

But Mr Whatley pulled over again and waited for them to approach.

He was later charged with a series of motoring offences.
At Caerphilly Magistrates Court he admitted not wearing his seatbelt when he was first stopped by police but claimed he had been reversing at the time.

The court heard that as the officer went round to the passenger side, the car lurched forward and the officer was knocked - a claim disputed by Mr Whatley.

He told the court he then drove off because he thought he had been dealt with, was 'frail and vulnerable' and worried he would suffer another stroke.

'I feel on health grounds I was justified,' he said. 'I was displaying my medication needs and the officer was ignoring me.

'My survival instinct was such was that I was trying to assist the officer the best I could. I feared another stroke.

'I thought he had finished with me. I just drove off coolly and calmly and not off at speed.'

Mr Whatley, who never broke the speed limit during the chase, said he had become confused during the pursuit.

He said he thought that the blue lights and siren of the pursuing car meant the officer was giving him a police escort home.

But he finally pulled over when he was confronted by a police 'stinger' device on the road into Usk.

He was found guilty of not wearing a seatbelt, failing to stop for a police officer and having tinted car windows which did not conform to legal requirements but cleared of failing to stop after an accident. He also admitted having a registration plate which did not adhere to regulations.

The pensioner was fined a total of £235 and ordered to pay £300 towards prosecution costs.

Mr Whatley has complained to Gwent Police and the the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) which has now launched an investigation into the incident.

Gwent Police said yesterday that two officers had been removed from operational duty.

Deputy Chief Constable Carmel Napier said: 'When the incident happened Gwent Police had great concerns about what appeared to have occurred.

'Immediate contact was made with the complainant, his concerns recorded and a voluntary referral made by the force to the IPCC.

'We expect the highest professional standards of its police officers and staff at all times and we can assure Mr Whatley and the public that this matter will be thoroughly investigated'.