A police constable who punched a suspect six times in the head after the man had been incapacitated with a Taser has been dismissed following a misconduct hearing, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said.
An independent panel found that Pc Daniel Reed used excessive force when arresting the 43-year-old at the Dalesman pub in Darlington in November 2016.
The hearing was told the man was not co-operating when Pc Reed and five other officers arrived at the pub to arrest him on suspicion of a public order offence and witness intimidation.
An altercation took place, the IOPC said, and officers used pepper spray and then a Taser which incapacitated the man, but Pc Reed went on to punch him six times in the head before the suspect was put in a police van and taken into custody.
The following day the man complained to police after receiving treatment for facial injuries and the IOPC began an investigation.
CCTV of the arrest was gathered and statements taken and Pc Reed was charged with assault and cleared at Sunderland Magistrates' Court in September.
Durham Police held a disciplinary hearing this week into his conduct and Pc Reed was dismissed for gross misconduct.
Former sergeant Gary O'Neill, who was present during the arrest, was cleared of a misconduct charge having been accused of witnessing the incident but failing to report it.
IOPC regional director Miranda Biddle said: "Police officers have to deal with very difficult, dynamic situations and this incident was obviously very stressful for all involved.
"However, officers receive training and have specialist equipment to help them handle such difficult encounters and the public should expect that excessive force is not used, especially in a case such as this, where the man had already been brought under control using the Taser.
"Our investigation found evidence that the force used by Pc Reed was excessive, and the independent panel, who also had the benefit of hearing live evidence this week, agreed that the evidence amounted to gross misconduct.
"The panel decided that the sixth strike to the head was excessive because Pc Reed was aware that the man was incapacitated when this blow was delivered."