On the evening of July 18, 2008, Al-Baghdadi, seeking payment, approached Dizaei, who was in uniform, outside a Persian restaurant in Kensington, West London.
Al-Baghdadi, 24, told the jury Dizaei gestured with his arm and said, “Let’s go to the next road; I’ll show you.”
Al-Baghdadi told the jury, “I know if I fight I will go to jail because he is a police officer. I said to him, ‘You are the commander of West London, but even if you were commander of the whole world you have no class.'”
Wright said al-Baghdadi entered the Yas restaurant in an attempt to de-escalate the situation. Dizaei followed al-Baghdadi and reportedly said, “You have five minutes to leave the restaurant, otherwise I’ll show you.”
The Daily Mail reported that restaurant owner Sorab Eshragi knew Dizaei and worried police would come and disturb guests, so Eshragi asked al-Baghdadi to leave. The owner and guests at the restaurant, al-Baghdadi said, could serve as witnesses. But there was one problem. “These people, no one wants to testify against Dizaei. They are scared of him,” al-Baghdadi said.
“This man is an Iranian gangster. People look at him. People are scared of him,” al-Baghdadi said.
Prosecutor Wright told the jury al-Baghdadi called the police as he walked from the restaurant to his car. Al-Baghdadi told the emergency operator that “a big police officer” was “threatening [him] for nothing..” He asked for officers to come and assist him.
Three minutes later Dizaei called the police with a different story. “Urgent assistance required, I’ve made an arrest,” Dizaei said.
During the arrest, Wright told the jury, Dizaei threatened al-Baghdadi, saying: “I’ll fuck your life.… You think I don’t know what you do in London.… I’ll find every single detail of your life in London.”
In the background of Dizaei’s call for reinforcements, Wright said, one could hear al-Baghdadi saying, “Let my hand go; you’re breaking my hand.”
Minutes after the call, police arrived and escorted al-Baghdadi to the police station where he was incarcerated for almost 24 hours. During that time, Dizaei attested in a written report that al-Baghdadi tried to assault him.
“I felt a sharp object in my stomach,… which looked like a knife,” the account said. Police found the top of a shisha pipe attached to al-Baghdadi’s keys.
A forensic examiner testified against the defendant, saying Dizaei’s injuries are probably “self-inflicted.”
Al-Baghdadi said, “In our country these things happen. The officers, they’ve got power.”
Commander Dizaei, 47, was born in Tehran and raised in a family of law enforcers: his grandfather was an assistant commissioner, his father head of traffic police and his uncles policemen.
His father sent him to a UK boarding school. He studied law at London City University and now has a doctorate. In 1986, Dizaei became a British police officer. In March 1999, he joined the Metropolitan Police—the London police force based at Scotland Yard—as a superintendent. Dizaei is a former president of the National Black Police Association and one of Britain’s most senior ethnic minority police officers.
Dizaei has been accused of assorted misconduct by the police in the past. Dizaei says the charges were just a result of bias against a minority and his role in the black officers association. (In Britain, the term “black” is commonly applied to non-Europeans.) Dizaei has never been convicted previously and successfully sued the police for mistreatment in its investigations of his conduct before the latest case.