AFRICANGLOBE – West Midlands Police has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct over footage of a man being repeatedly hit by a police officer.
In the clip, which is only eight seconds long, one officer can be seen repeatedly striking the man on his head and holding his left arm, while another holds his right.
The man who is being beaten tries to use his hands to protect his head from the blows.
The clip comes to an abrupt end after one of the five officers in the room closes the door.
The incident came to light after the video was shared on social media. It has been viewed more than a million times on Twitter alone.
In a statement, West Midlands Police said: “West Midlands Police has voluntarily referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) after a video was posted on social media yesterday…which has generated concern across communities.”
Officers were called by a doctor who was conducting a mental health assessment on the 38-year-old man in Sandwell, during which the man allegedly became violent and assaulted the doctor with a metal crutch, the police said.
West Midlands Police have said that the viral video does not show how the officers were attacked beforehand.
“The full body worn video of the response shows the man attack the officers with his walking sticks injuring three of them.
“Incapacitant spray was used and one officer appears to be using a distraction tactic and a full review of the circumstances will take place to decide whether the use of force was proportionate,” West Midlands Police said.
The man in the video was arrested on suspicion of assault and taken into custody.
“He was medically examined while in custody and he had not received any injuries. He is currently receiving treatment in a mental health facility,” West Midlands Police said.
Head of the force’s professional standards department, Ch Supt Chris Todd said: “We do not underestimate the impact this video has on the public’s confidence in policing. On first view, the video is really shocking and we need to understand the full context of what the officers were facing.
“As well as the IOPC referral, we are consulting with key community members.”
The man in the video is believed to be Muslim. Responding to the video, a spokesperson from the Muslim Council of Britain said that it was “deeply concerned” by the footage.
They added: “West Midlands Police need to demonstrate strong leadership in ensuring the officers involved are appropriately disciplined with a public explanation of any aggravating factors.
“Given this incident was only brought to light by a member of the public filming on his/her camera, we expect WMP to conduct a wider investigation that can propose specific safeguards to prevent such incidents from recurring in the future.”
Police abusing their authority once again. WE NEED ANSWERS. pic.twitter.com/e2PP6JzQo6
— B Boogie (@Blayofficial) March 9, 2019