Met Police referred to watchdog after clip of ‘cop beating suspect with baton’
The Metropolitan Police force has referred itself to a watchdog after footage emerged appearing to show an officer hitting a 17-year-old suspect with a baton.
A clip posted online appears to show a male in handcuffs on a pavement in Romford, East London, being struck several times by an officer using a baton.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) confirmed it is looking into the incident and said it will make a decision soon on whether to open an independent investigation.
The IOPC tweeted that they "understand why there is considerable public concern".
Police said they had stopped and searched two teenage boys on Easter Monday afternoon in Heath Park Road under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
A 17-year-old boy was found in possession of class B drugs and arrested for possession with intent to supply and obstruction of a drugs search, Scotland Yard said.
The second boy, aged 14, made off to his home address in Brentwood Road but was later detained there, the force said.
Police said that, during a struggle, an officer was assaulted. The boy was arrested for obstruction and assault on a police officer.
Both teenagers were later released under investigation.
A Met spokeswoman said: "We are aware of footage circulating on social media and are listening to community concerns. A full review into the circumstances surrounding the incident is being carried out by the borough professional standards team in liaison with the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards.
"The MPS expects the highest standards from all its officers and where there are concerns these standards have not been met, appropriate action will be taken. We await the results of the review to establish the full circumstances of this incident."
The IOPC said: "The footage captures part of the incident but does raise questions about the officer's use of force."
The watchdog later added: "We are clear that video does not show the whole incident and make no judgment of the appropriateness of the officer's actions."
On Friday the IOPC said it had received a referral from the Met Police.
A petition calling for the suspension of a police officer said to have been involved in the incident has gained more than 28,000 signatures.
The change.org campaign, started by the BAME Lawyers for Justice group, said: "We condemn the recent, aggressive and disproportionately violent arrest of two young black brothers."
The group added: "This arrest has caused huge outrage and concern amongst Londoners and many more concerned citizens throughout the country are appalled at what they've seen."
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