London: Police officer kneels on neck of Black man, suspended
The London Mayor Sadiq Khan has condemned the incident. Met Police confirmed that the man was charged for possession of knife in a public place.
AScotland Yard officer has been suspended for kneeling on the head and neck of a Black man during an arrest in London.
This comes after a video of the incident had surfaced. In the video, two officers were holding the handcuffed suspect on the pavement. It was recorded in the Islington area of UK capital London.
A second Metropolitan Police officer has been removed from operational duty following the arrest on Thursday evening.
The UK has seen widespread Black Lives Matter protests following the death of 46-year-old African American George Floyd in Minneapolis in the US on May 25 while he was in police custody.
Deputy Met Police commissioner Sir Steve House said the footage was “extremely disturbing” and had been referred to the police watchdog — the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
“The video footage that I have seen today and is circulating on social media is extremely disturbing. Some of the techniques used cause me great concern — they are not taught in police training,” he said.
“One officer has been suspended and another officer has been removed from operational duty, but not suspended at this time. This decision will be kept under review,” he added.
The Met Police confirmed it had charged a 45-year-old man with possession of a knife in a public place. Marcus Coutain will appear in custody at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Saturday.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said, “I’m deeply concerned about this distressing incident and we have raised this with senior officers at the Met Police as a matter of urgency.
“I welcome the fact the incident has been reviewed quickly by the Met and it’s right that they have referred it to the IOPC.”
In the footage, shared with the BBC, one of the officers appears to be using his knee to control the suspect and has his hand on the man”s head.
The man on the ground, who is in handcuffs, repeatedly shouts: “Get off my neck.”
He is eventually released from the ground and continues to talk to officers after they sit him up. Several police cars arrive at the scene after the arresting officers are confronted by onlookers, who drew parallels with the police custody death of Floyd that triggered worldwide Black Lives Matter protests.
An eye witness told the BBC,”I was worried he was going to get executed. That’s just how George Floyd got killed.
“If not for the crowds filming the police they could have suffocated him or broken his neck. He was on the floor and in handcuffs, what”s the reason for a kneeling on his neck?”
(Inputs from PTI)