A 19-year-old was treated for a broken neck after being arrested by police for being drunk and disorderly.
Stephen Lomax, of Boutport Street in Barnstaple, appeared in front of North Devon magistrates charged with two offences including being drunk and disorderly and assaulting a police constable.
In the early hours of August 24 Lomax was seen in Cooper Street in Bideford by special constable Laura Hancock.
He was issued with a section 27 dispersal order and told to leave the area.
But the court heard Lomax was uncooperative and was arrested half an hour later in Mill Street, less than 100 yards away.
Ben Winzer, for the prosecution, said: “He made no attempt to comply. Police followed him up Cooper Street where he hurled abuse at door staff, members of the public and officers.”
An arrest was then attempted but Lomax resisted and “swung his arm back, elbowing the officer to the stomach.”
Magistrates heard the officer was winded and suffered pain in her abdomen.
Sara Svensson, for the defence, told the court Lomax had been in Bideford when an incident occurred with a female who hurled abuse at him, to which he took exception.
“He struggled with the handcuffs and in pulling his arm away he caught an officer behind him,” she said.
The court heard Lomax complained of pain in his neck once he was in police custody and was seen by a nurse before being interviewed, during which he was in “extreme difficulty.”
Miss Svensson told the court Lomax was advised he had to walk home once he left the police cells.
“He went to the doctor who sent him straight to the accident and emergency department where he had a CT scan,” she added. “He had sustained a broken neck as a result of the incident.”
Magistrates adjourned the case for pre-sentence reports until October 11 at 2pm.