'Pure hatred and aggression': Police officers surrounded and threatened by angry crowd when they went to arrest man in Leeds street

Police officers were stranded in a Leeds street when they were surrounded and threatened by an angry mob as they tried to carry out an arrest.

Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 4:45 pm

A court was shown camera footage of the incident in which around 30 people stood in front of police vehicles and tried to intimidate officers.

Leeds Crown Court heard parents also encouraged children to join in the disorder on Ullswater Crescent, Halton Moor.

One officer described how she was faced with "pure hatred and aggression" during the incident on September 9, 2019.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Ullswater Crescent, Halton Moor.
Ullswater Crescent, Halton Moor.

Clare Walsh, prosecuting, said a West Yorkshire Police officer was sent to the area at 7.15pm and arrested a man in the street.

The officer dropped the keys to his patrol vehicle as he restrained the man.

They were then picked up by someone who ran off with them, leaving the officer stranded.

More officers were sent to the street to take the arrested man away and to try to retrieve the car keys.

Read More

Read More
'I find that highly improbable': Graffiti artist arrested for spray painting wal...

A group of young men stood in front of one of the police cars and refused to move out of the way.

The prosecutor said one member of the group, Aaron Thompson, made a "sarcastic sympathetic" face and refused to move out of the officer's path.

Thompson and some of the others then shook and banged on the vehicle.

A police van driven by a female officer arrived at the scene but was also blocked in by the crowd.

Ms Walsh said the officer panicked and got the van stuck on the pavement.

Thompson grabbed a wheel arch on the van and began rocking the vehicle.

The officer in the car went to help his colleague and another member of the crowd struck the van.

The van was eventually driven away when the officer managed to clear a path for the vehicle by moving people out of the way.

Bodycam footage showed the officer being confronted and threatened as he did so.

Thompson was later arrested after being identified from the footage but refused to comment when interviewed.

Ms Walsh said: "He said the local people were anti-police and did not want to speak out through fear of reprisals."

Thompson, 31, of Ullswater Crescent, pleaded guilty to affray.

He has previous convictions for shoplifting and served a prison sentence for other offences after the incident.

The female officer provided a statement to the court, saying: "This was the first incident where I had to deal with so much aggression and pure hatred."

She described how the incident made her question whether she wanted to continue with her police career.

The officer also described how parents had been "goading" children to join in the unlawful behaviour, adding: "Everyone should have a right to feel safe at work, including my colleague and I."

Martin Morrow, mitigating, said Thompson had made good progress with the probation service since being released from custody.

Judge Mushtaq Khokhar gave Thompson a four-month sentence, suspended for 18 months.

He was also ordered to complete 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

The court heard other defendants arrested in connection with the incident were given suspended prison sentences at a previous court hearing.