News Release – for immediate release
12th August 2011
Independent police monitor punched and kicked to the head and legs in back of police van, while monitoring policing of disturbances.
The Network for Police Monitoring will make a complaint to the Metropolitan police after one of its volunteers was arrested and beaten by police while monitoring the policing of disturbances in Enfield on the night of Sunday 7th August.
Along with two others, Taherali Gulamhussein was stopped and searched by police under section 60 powers, which gives them the right to search for weapons. The police found no weapon, nor any other item that gave them cause for concern. Despite this he was arrested and subsequently beaten in the back of a police van.
Taherali has described how, in the course of the search, he was kicked and punched in the chest and thigh, and that his head was smashed against a wall.
He has also said that after being arrested and placed in the police van he was held down and kicked and punched repeatedly to the face, head and legs. He was left with cuts and abrasions across his face, a suspected fractured nose, bleeding lips, and a sprained thigh muscle. He was held for three hours, and afterwards received treatment for his injuries at hospital.
Taherali and two colleagues were in Enfield to monitor the policing of disturbances in the town and neighbouring areas.
“Things were quiet, and we were walking down the street towards our car”, said one of the police monitors present, “but as we walked by the side of a police van, there was suddenly mayhem.”
“The three of us were wrestled to the ground, handcuffed and searched. It was never made clear why Taher was arrested. The only possible reason I can see is that, while I was carrying identification, he was not. I think he was arrested just so they could find out who he was. That is not a lawful reason for arrest when they had no reason to think that we had done anything wrong.”
“The next time I saw Taherali, it was obvious he had been beaten. His face and forehead were cut and bruised, and he was bleeding around his nose and mouth. The question is, if the police felt they could get away with beating up one young black man in the back of their van, how many other times have they done it? And they wonder why there is such anger towards the police?”
Taherali said “Most black people and young people have their personal stories of this violent racist, ageist aggression. The riots that have happened must be seen in this context, and the context tackled full on.”
The Network for Police Monitoring has said that it is unacceptable that one of its monitors was treated in this way, and that they will be asking for a full explanation and apology.
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