I was arrested on the 23rd of October 2010 at my home and taken to Sutton Police Station after being searched. While at the station I got into a verbal confrontation with the sergeant and a PC on two different points. The PC wanted to search me, even though the officer who searched me at my house was standing right next to him. He was aggressive from the word go, telling me he wanted to search me and moving his arms away from his sides in a threatening posture. I looked at the officer who searched me not 10 minutes before and he had a grin on his face. It seemed like they were having fun at my expense. The sergeant said to me I would have to spend a lengthy period in custody which made me angry because this reminded me of the ‘80s, where young black teenagers were routinely arrested for nothing and would spend on average 15 hours in custody and then released without being charged. It happened to me many times, even causing me on one occasion to lose a job as a trainee civil engineer.
I was then jumped on by 3 or 4 officers from the sides and brought to the ground, then repeatedly struck on the right side of my head, even though I was offering no resistance and both hands were behind my back. The whole incident was caught on CCTV.
I was then taken to a cell, but no one asked me if I needed to see a doctor. I tasted blood in my mouth and promptly spat it on the cell floor. Around 3PM the following day I saw the duty solicitor, whom I showed my injuries: a cut on the inside of my lip and a lump the size of a £2 coin on my right temple.
I was interviewed around 4PM and released half an hour later without being charged.
As I was leaving the duty solicitor suggested I make a formal complaint to the inspector in writing.
I have therefore complained to the Metropolitan Police and the IPCC on the 26th of October 2010, both of whom acknowledged my complaints by letter.
A few days later I was called by Inspector Tracy Stephenson. She asked me about the incident and if I had any injuries. I told her about my injuries so she asked if I showed them to anyone, such as a doctor. I said no but I showed them to the duty solicitor. I asked her if that’s acceptable. She said ‘Yes, I’ll check that with him’. I then told her what happened at the police station. When I finished speaking she said that my version of events conflicts with the officer’s’. She said ‘Usually in situations like this I would view the footage and normally find out that my officers were telling the truth. I would then invite the man in to view it, and he would be very apologetic when he sees what he’s done.’ I said to her ‘ Why can’t you invite me in and we view it together?’ She said ‘ No, let me view it alone first’. Nearly a month went by without hearing from her, so I wrote another letter and took it to the same police station. The officer at the desk went away with my letter coming back a few minutes later, saying the Inspector gave a message to her to give to me, that she was about to write to me. I went away and a letter came dated 12th November 2010 written by Sergeant Tim Teasdale on behalf of Inspector Tracy Stephenson. The letter said they viewed the footage and what the officers have done was necessary because apparently the footage shows me pushing an officer and raising my right arm above shoulder height in a threatening manner. In reply to this letter I requested to view the footage and brought my request to the police station again. The officer at the desk took my request away, only to come back a few minutes later bringing a message from Inspector Tracy Stephenson that she is not available to see me, I can’t see the footage and she never said I can view it in the first place, which I found rather strange because I remember our phone conversation ( I even remember exactly where I was when she told me I could view it)
In May 2011 I received a letter from an IPCC case manager, dated 10th May 2011 in which the IPCC backed the police’s version of events, confirming Sergeant Tim Teasdale’s report that I pushed an officer at least twice and raised my arm above shoulder height in a threatening manner. My case was dismissed by both the Metropolitan Police and the IPCC.
Next I went to see my MP(Tom Brake) on the 28th of August 2011 who asked the Borough Commander in September for a copy of the footage, because I have been unable to view it since I first complained.
I got a reply dated 15th November 2011 in which he said Jane Sullivan Staff Officer to the Borough Commander Guy Ferguson advises him that my complaint was not upheld by neither the Metropolitan Police nor the IPCC and I have no right to view the footage because the footage may reveal photography of unconvicted persons present and therefore breaching their privacy, and human rights. I have discussed this matter with my MP who asked the Borough Commander on the 8th December 2011 whether it would be possible to release the CCTV footage, but with faces of other innocent by-standers blocked out.
The reply was dated 22nd December 2011 saying the original outcome was upheld.
There has been constant correspondence between myself and my MP since, resulting in him contacting the Commissioner, who asked Damian Beird to contact me. He in turn suggested I obtain the footage via the Data Protection Act. I filled out the form, providing the necessary documentation which included my passport, and a utility bill. I have received a response stating I have not provided any proof of identification which I found rather strange because I remember putting my passport in the envelope with the application form and utility bill and I did it in front of my misses who found it equally strange. I kept the receipt which shows the weight of the letter posted and when I tracked it on the Royal Mail’s website it revealed it had been signed as delivered undamaged and signed by somebody named ***** *****s at 9:08 on the 16th of February, 2012. I have spoken with my MP about this, who searched on the internet for the average weight of a british passport. I also posted the same documentation to myself, minus the passport that miraculously disappeared between the post office and the Metropolitan Police. The difference in weight is the weight of a passport. I applied again, this time round I sent photocopies of my driving licence and birth certificate. I received confirmation of my application and receipt of the £10 application fee. Some time later in January 2013 I received a letter from a Sergeant Stuart Parsons saying he will contact me to arrange a viewing at a police station. I waited till September of the same year, when I decided to get in touch with him. We arranged a viewing (that was cancelled twice) which eventually took place in late October. I went to see it with a family member. Although the event happened 3 years prior to that, I remember it vividly, that is why I can say confidently the footage has been edited. The part where I was forcefully brought down to the ground for no apparent reason, and repeatedly hit on the right side of my head and face was completely missing. I tried to find a solicitor but whomever I contacted turned me down after hearing that the IPCC backed the police’s version of events (“You can’t be telling the truth” - so to speak). So my only option was to consult an internet solicitor who suggested I contact the Information Commissioner. I done so in early February, 2014, supporting my case with copies of - for example- the receipt the Metropolitan Police sent me after receiving my 2nd application. A month later I received a reply, in which the case manager closed my case saying there is no evidence I have applied for the footage through the Data Protection Act. When my misses called him, she pointed out to him that I had definitely sent in the paperwork in question. During that call he located it, and reopened my case telling me he will let me know in due course the police’s reply. Another month went by, when the case manager sent me an email, telling me again he closed the case, because the police replied: they are not obliged to disclose the footage on the grounds that there are innocent by-standers present, and their human rights would be compromised( incidentally this was the same reason they gave to my MP, to which he replied, their faces can be blocked out, but the police refused him.) The reason they gave though, was untrue, because the footage clearly shows there was only me and the officers present on the footage in question.
These are the reasons why I want to start prosecution proceedings.