The Metropolitan Police in London is facing allegations of racial bias following an incident in which a 13-year-old black schoolboy was approached by armed police and forcibly knocked off his bicycle.
This encounter occurred when an officer wrongly perceived the boy’s water pistol as a real firearm. The boy was subsequently handcuffed during the incident in Hackney, east London, in July.
The 13-year-old boy was engaged in a water fight with his younger sibling when a patrolling police officer reported a potential firearms incident, according to the Daily Mail.
The Alliance for Police Accountability (APA) criticized the handling of the 13-year-old boy, indicating that the water pistol he had was undoubtedly a toy. The APA pointed out that the water guns in question were clearly distinguishable as toys, with one being blue and white and the other pink and white.
The incident prompted the dispatch of armed units from both the Metropolitan Police (Met) and the City of London Police, according to the APA. It said the boy was de-arrested at the scene soon afterward, once his mother had arrived and challenged what was happening.
The mother of the 13-year-old boy involved in the incident has accused a Metropolitan Police (Met) officer of being aggressive and expressed her profound distress, stating that the traumatic experience has had a severe impact on her son, herself, and their entire family. She described the incident as deeply traumatic and distressing.
She expressed her dissatisfaction with the police’s conduct, calling out a senior officer’s response when she protested the officers’ behavior. The senior officer allegedly told her that she should consider herself fortunate that her son wasn’t arrested. She questioned the grounds for such an arrest, given that her son had been playing with a brightly colored plastic water gun with his younger sibling near their home.
Less than three years ago, police in the same borough had strip-searched a 15-year-old girl, referred to as Child Q, at her school while she was menstruating, based on an incorrect suspicion of cannabis possession.
A subsequent Child Safeguarding Practices Review suggested that racism was likely a contributing factor in the search for Child Q.
Detective Chief Superintendent James Conway, responsible for policing in Hackney and Tower Hamlets, has issued an apology to the 13-year-old boy’s family.
He acknowledged the distress experienced by the boy and his family and expressed a desire to address public concerns about the police response. An internal investigation conducted by the Metropolitan Police determined that no misconduct had occurred on the part of the officers involved.