Update 15.20 hrs Wed 10 July 2019
Further statement from MPS Tower Hamlets
Commander Mark McEwan, Professionalism, said: ”We’re aware of footage circulating on social media of officers arresting a man on Abbott Road in Poplar on the afternoon of Tuesday, 9 July and of community concerns about this incident.
“The circumstances are that at about 17:30hrs, officers attempted to speak with a 38-year-old man about his car. It was obstructing the highway in a way that caused a danger to other motorists having to swerve around it onto the wrong side of the road. Even those with a disabled badge cause an offence if they obstruct the highway.
“We have today reviewed Body Worn Video, recorded as standard practice by officers at the scene. The footage shows the man is asked multiple times to either produce his driving licence or move his vehicle and does not do so.
“The officer speaking to the man gives him a five stage warning – five opportunities to comply with the request made to move the vehicle or he will be arrested for causing an obstruction of the highway. Having failed to do so, the officer takes out his handcuffs and begins to arrest the man, who resists.
“The man is subsequently arrested on suspicion of obstruction of the highway, assaulting police and resisting arrest. During the incident he became unwell – officers immediately assisted and called an ambulance. The man was taken to hospital for treatment as a precaution, and is now in custody at an east London police station. Two officers suffered minor injuries.
“I understand how concerning this incident may have looked to those at the scene or people who have viewed social media footage since and it is only right we look in detail at the circumstances of what happened yesterday to ensure confidence in how we police London. To that end, the matter has been referred to the Central East Command professional standards unit and we will continue to talk to and listen to the local community to address any concerns.”
Statement from Mayor Biggs
Further to the incident at Aberfeldy estate yesterday (9 July 2019) and the videos that have been circulating through social media, an official comment from Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs has been issued.
Mayor John Biggs said:
“I am deeply concerned to see videos of the arrest on Aberfeldy yesterday.
“Although social media doesn’t always show everything the videos are clearly disturbing. I have spoken to the police this morning and told them the incident should immediately be referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for investigation.
“While we should avoid jumping to conclusions, everyone must be able to feel safe on our streets and have confidence in our police. An independent investigation will help to ensure this.”
Statement from Metropolitan Police New Scotland Yard
The Metropolitan Police Service is aware of footage circulating on social media of officers arresting a man on Abbott Road in Tower Hamlets on the afternoon of Tuesday, 9 July.
The officers concerned recorded the incident themselves via their Body Worn Video cameras as is normal practice.
Police in Tower Hamlets are talking to and listening to the local community.
The matter has been referred to the Central East Command professional standards unit.
At approximately 17:30hrs on Tuesday, 9 July, officers attempted to speak with a man regarding his car which was obstructing the highway and other motorists.
The man declined to move his car and refused to provide officers with his driving licence.
A 38-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of obstruction of the highway, assaulting police and resisting arrest. He was taken to hospital for treatment as a precaution, and is now in custody at an east London police station.
Two officers sustained minor injuries.
Statement from Metropolitan Police Tower Hamlets
This is the full statement released by MPS Central East BCU (Hackney and Tower Hamlets Boroughs) relating to the arrest of a man on the Aberfeldy yesterday 9th July. Videos of this incident are currently circulating on social media.
“This is in relation to an incident which occurred in the Aberfeldy area on 9th July around 1630hrs. There is a video circulating of the arrest of a male who was alleged to have been injured during this. This message is to relay the known facts at this stage and provide context to the incident.
The officers body-worn video footage has been viewed. This shows a car parked on a single yellow line, there is an empty disabled space which the police have pulled into in front of this car. The officers go round to talk to the driver, a 38 year old male.
During this video you can see vehicles overtaking the parked vehicle on the wrong side of the road, and this is pointed out to the gentleman. He is asked no less than 17 times to either produce his driving licence or move his vehicle. He does not do so.
The officer gives the gentleman a 5 stage warning – 5 opportunities to comply with the request made to move the vehicle or he will be arrested for causing an obstruction of the highway.
Having failed to do so, the officer takes out his handcuffs and begins to arrest the male, who resists. The male lashes out his arm and appears to attempt to bite the arresting officer.
The videos circulating then show what happens next. Officers can be heard to shout for the detained male to relax his arm and he resists. He is shouting that he hasn’t done anything. The officers are trying to handcuff the male whilst the male is still resisting.
An officer then manages to get on top of the male whilst the other officer is lying on the floor with his arm trapped underneath the male. The female then also tries to pull the officers arms away whilst screaming. The officer who is lying on the floor manages to get free and pushes the female away. The detained male continues to resist whilst the female is telling him to relax. At this point another officer arrives and members of the public start to gather around.
Whilst on the floor the males body starts to shake and it appears as if he is having a fit. At this point the officers appear to be holding the suspect in place but not using any force other than the officer who is holding down the legs. More officers then arrive on scene to control the gathering crowd and officers conduct medical checks.
The male was taken to Newham General Hospital to be checked over. He remains under arrest for obstructing the highway and resisting arrest. His condition is neither life threatening nor life changing. When released he will be taken to a police station.
Officers received injuries including bruising to their arms and scratches.”