A video on social media purporting to show police committing a “violent assault” on a man in Tower Hamlets has caused uproar, with the borough’s mayor calling for an urgent explanation.
The footage was posted on the Arbour Youth Centre Instagram account, outside which the incident is alleged to have taken place around 8pm on Saturday, October 8.
The alleged victim said on Instagram that he was in his car cleaning his dashboard by the centre in Stepney Green before an officer approached him to check his vehicle and identity before telling him he was free to go.
He then claims that another officer used a “blunt instrument” to open the petrol cap before he was restrained and put in a headlock, with police claiming he had spat at them.
He continued: “As you can see from the video I am subject to a vicious assault and police brutality. I did not spit at anyone!
“I have no dealings with the police, nor am I known to the police, wanted, nor was I in the process of committing a crime or equipped to carry out an offence.
“As you can see the police have fabricated evidence and have accused me of assault. I did no such thing and this video is only out here to raise awareness in this day an age of heightened security and terror threats I could have been tasered or shot or pepper sprayed for no reason.
“I was not even read my rights only after I had informed them they needed to do so, this whole ordeal has been unlawful!”
The footage was circulated further on Twitter and on Whatsapp and caused the mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs to call for a full investigation.
He said: “I am very alarmed by this video and the description of what happened and I have demanded an urgent meeting and explanation from the borough commander.
“We clearly need an investigation of this incident and why the officer appears to have acted so aggressively. I understand many in our community will be understandably angry at what they have seen but I would urge a calm response.
“If the actions in this video are what they appear, then we need to see action from the police and a full apology given.
“Our community needs to have faith and confidence in the police who serve us. Incidents like this threaten to destroy that trust and undo years of work to build closer relations between the police and our community.”
A statement from the Met said: “On Saturday, October 8 neighbourhood officers from Tower Hamlets were out on routine patrol in Shandy Street and spoke to some young men due to concerns about anti-social behaviour in this area.
“At 8.10pm the officers called for additional assistance. One man was arrested on suspicion of assault on police and a section five Public Order Act offence. He has since been bailed.
“Senior officers at Tower Hamlets are aware of the footage of the arrest being circulated on social media and of community concerns regarding this. As soon as they became aware the man in the footage was contacted to see if he wished to make a formal complaint.
“To date no formal complaint has been received in connection with this incident but this is being followed up. However, the footage has been passed to the Directorate Of Professional Standards to review.
“A review is necessary as the footage captures only a snap shot of officers restraining a man who is non-compliant in a difficult policing situation.”
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