The police watchdog has launched an appeal for witnesses to a Bermondsey stop and search – so it can assess whether there was racial profiling involved.
The man who was restrained by police was driving a black Range Rover with three passengers. He was stopped in Avondale Square, off the Old Kent Road, in front of St Phillip’s Church Hall on Saturday, May 2 at around 10pm.
During the search, an officer deployed their taser on the man, before putting him in handcuffs and searching him.
The passengers were searched and handcuffed, too.
Footage of the search went viral on social media, prompting concern, and the man lodged a formal complaint.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said there was likely many witnesses to the stop and search, adding that it would also investigate if coronavirus rules were followed.
“This incident took place in public view late at night and was likely witnessed by passers-by and members of the public,” said Sal Naseem, the watchdog’s regional director.
“The video was widely shared on social media platforms and used by local media outlets.
“To uphold public confidence in the police complaints system, we will be investigating the use of stop and search tactics in this incident and whether the actions of those officers were appropriate and proportionate and followed approved police policies.
“We will also investigate if racial profiling or discrimination played a part in the incident and whether any coronavirus legislation was breached.”
Those who did see anything are being asked to call 0800 151 0018 or to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The inspectors said they have recovered CCTV, body worn video footage, the footage shared online, and are taking statements from several witnesses.