Two police officers used ‘excessive force’ when arresting a man suspected of being drunk in a town centre.
They were cleared of gross misconduct and given written warnings.
Sussex Police said PC Steven Morris and PC David Quayle faced gross misconduct hearings following an incident in Steyning in January 2015.
The panel found there had been no ‘gratuitous’ punching or kicking by either officer and the officers were exonerated of that allegation, police confirmed.
At the hearings, held at Sackville House in Lewes from Tuesday to Thursday, they were found by a panel at the Independent Office of Police Conduct to have breached standards of professional behaviour.
Police said the officers arrested a man in High Street on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly after it was alleged the man had punched a driver of a car.
He was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car to be taken to Worthing custody centre.
Sussex Police said during the journey the officers believed the man was spitting at Worthing-based PC Quayle and was kicking the back of their seats. The car pulled over and it has since been found the pair used ‘excessive force’ in their attempts to restrain the suspect.
Police said the panel, chaired by Nicola Talbot Hadley, considered evidence for two hours and concluded that PC Morris, based at Crawley, used excessive force in pulling the arrested man out of the back of the police car and restraining him on the ground while they waited for a van to take him to custody.
PC Quayle was found to have used excessive force in using an incapicitant spray on the arrested man.
The decision was made that the allegations amounted to misconduct rather than gross misconduct and the pair were both given written warnings, Sussex Police added.