The Met Police has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) over a stop-and-search incident in which an officer allegedly kneed a black man in the head.
Footage of the incident appears to show the man was on the floor and seemed to have stopped resisting.
He was in the process of being handcuffed when the officer appeared to knee the man’s face.
The 18-year-old male can be heard shouting ‘I’m not resisting’ and ‘I didn’t do anything’ during the struggle with a plain-clothed officer in Hackney, London on April 22.
Officers had asked him and two other men on bicycles to stop for a weapons search. No weapon was found on the 18-year-old and he was let go without arrest.
The person who filmed the incident made a complaint this month accusing officers of being ‘violent and aggressive’.
The Met’s decision to refer itself to the IOPC followed an initial assessment of the complaint by the force’s Directorate of Professional Standards.
Marcus Barnett, a Met commander, said: ‘I am aware that this footage has raised concerns in the community and of course the incident should be fully investigated.
‘Given the public interest in this matter it is also appropriate that we voluntarily refer it to the IOPC.’
Victor Olisa, a former borough commander in Tottenham, this week said that stop-and-search powers are increasingly being misused.
Not commenting on the Hackney incident, he told The Guardian that while most officers were ‘professional, dedicated and committed’ there is’ a growing practice of officers handcuffing young black boys who have not been arrested and are not resisting or showing any signs of aggression, before they start searching them’.
‘This is a worrying development of a practice that seems to reinforce the stereotype that conflates blackness with dangerousness: black boys are considered ‘dangerous’ and so have to be restrained in a way that is humiliating and degrading, without a rational justification.’
A Met spokesperson said the 18-year-old was ‘handcuffed and placed to the floor in an attempt to mitigate any potential issues should a weapon be present’.
The spokesperson added: ‘Each stop and search is dealt with on its own merits at the discretion of the individual officers involved, taking into account various aspects including behaviour and compliance.