Michael Bunting was a career police officer from a policing family – when he formally joined the police, he was given his father’s old collar number. In six years he gave sterling service, gaining three commendations and serving bravely during the Bradford riots. His father had been Chief Inspector and it looked as though Michael was set for a similarly glittering career. All that ended when West Yorkshire Police arrested him for assault.
Bunting was one of a number of officers who responded to a domestic incident involving a drunk man with a history of petty crime. In trying to assist in making the arrest, he was pinned against a wall and repeatedly punched, and then accidentally sprayed with a colleague’s CS gas. As a result, he suffered eight injuries to his face, lost a tooth, and was off work for five weeks. He was awarded £1,000 compensation for his injuries.
However, the arrested man – who was so drunk that he couldn’t even remember the whole incident – said that Michael Bunting was the one who assaulted him with a number of vicious kicks. Bunting never denied kicking out once as part of trying to defend himself. But the remainder of the man’s account was a fabrication.
The West Yorks Police Professional Standards Department swung into action. They conducted an internal enquiry resulting in Michael receiving a four-month sentence, of which he served 33 days. When prisoners found out that they had a police officer in prison he was attacked, had excrement smeared across his bedding, and his food was spat on. They would chant at night that they were going to kill him. His ordeal was so bad that at the end of only his fourth day in prison, he attempted suicide.
On his release Bunting wrote a book about his ordeal, and still fights to clear his name. There are many similarities to the case of Danny Major.
- Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Fair_Cop
- ‘A Fair Cop’ website: http://www.afaircop.co.uk/
- Unprofessional Standards Department: http://www.upsd.co.uk/michael-bunting/
- Article in the Daily Mirror: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/michael-bunting-endured-every-cops-342131