This is the moment two of our officers were attacked by a man who’d told them he’d come into town with a friend during lockdown to buy the new Call of Duty game – before it was revealed he was an armed robber on the run from prison.
Clint Butler, aged 36, kicked one officer in the groin before he was restrained by officers using incapacitant spray and arrested.
He gave a false name before finally admitting who he was and that he’d absconded from HMP Spring Hill open prison in Buckinghamshire.
He’d been serving a 17-year extended sentence for crimes including robbery and firearms offences, which is due to finish in 2024.
But he fled the prison at around midnight on 28 November last year, and was issued as wanted by Thames Valley Police who urged the public not to approach him if they saw him.
On 13 January this year, Birmingham city centre PCs Mark Owen and Allison Brown saw Butler and a friend change direction when they spotted the officers in Martineau Way.
PC Owen asked Butler why he was in town during lockdown, and his friend replied: “I’ve come to get the new Call of Duty because I can’t sit around in lockdown.”
When PC Owen said he’d be checking their details, Butler lashed out and kicked him in the groin.
The officers tackled him as they called for back-up, as Butler punched PC Brown in the face and became trapped under him at one point.
The officers used incapacitant spray before Butler finally gave up and was handcuffed, as security guards came to help the officers, in Martineau Way.
He initially gave a false name, and admitted having cannabis on him, but we quickly established his real identity and he’s now back behind bars.
He was jailed for 13 months for absconding from prison, and six months consecutively for assaulting the officers.
Supt Nick Rowe said: “This was great work by our officers, acting on instinct that there was something not quite right and then challenging the men.
“The situation escalated really quickly, but both PCs put their training to good effect by restraining Butler, subduing him and getting him safely in handcuffs, while also calling for back-up from officers nearby.
“I’d like to thank the security staff who came to help our officers.
“It also shows the power of body-worn video, with the officers turning their cameras on before they started speaking to the men. It meant the whole episode was clearly caught on camera and there was no doubt about what happened.
“Quite why he decided to risk being returned to prison by making the idiotic decision to come into town during lockdown with a friend to buy a video game will remain a bit of a mystery.”
The sentencing comes just days after a new report on use of force in the West Midlands highlighted our good practice in a number of areas.
But we know there’s still work to be done, so all of our neighbourhood policing units have set up public scrutiny panels.
Influential community members, youth workers and local partners meet every three months.
We share the details of how many use of force incidents have been recorded and we show them the BWV of the incident. By involving our communities and giving them a voice, and by listening to each other, we establish stronger and more trusted relationships.