Pc Joseph Harrington, 29, is said to have grabbed the 15-year-old by the neck and forced his hands and knees into his back.

The attack is alleged to have taken place at Forest Gate police station, in east London, on August 11 last year, following three days of rioting across the capital.

The Met officer, based in the east London borough of Newham, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court to plead not guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm.

Prosecutor Duncan Hamilton said: "The victim suffers from asthma, and as a result of the pressure applied to his back, he had difficulty breathing and that remained the case for several days thereafter.

"When examined by a nurse, he was seen to have areas of redness to the back, and his left shoulder area was tender to touch.

"I accept the injury is to the lower end when considering actual bodily harm, but it is injury nonetheless and the circumstances of the case are this being assault by a police officer on a vulnerable person in custody."

Harrington, of Walthamstow, east London, was released on unconditional bail until a hearing at Southwark Crown Court on July 13.

The prosecution comes as other serving Met officers faces criminal accusations of racial abuse, though Harrington's alleged assault is not said to be racially motivated.

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