Met police officer suspended over ‘knee on neck’ video

A Metropolitan Police officer has been suspended and another placed on restricted duties after a video appeared to show one of them kneeling on a man’s neck.

The force’s Deputy Commissioner Sir Steve House described the footage as “deeply disturbing” and said some of the techniques, which are “not taught in police training”, caused him “great concern”.

He said one of the officers involved has been suspended and the other removed from operational duty, while the incident has been passed to the police watchdog for investigation.

Officers were called to a fight in Isledon Road, Islington, north London, at around 6.30pm on Thursday, the Met said.

Footage posted on social media on Thursday evening shows two officers holding a handcuffed man, who is black, on the pavement.

At the start of the two minute and 20 second clip, one of the officers appears to be kneeling on the suspect’s neck and has his hand on his head.

The struggling man on the ground can be heard shouting “Get off me … get off my neck, I haven’t done anything wrong, get off my neck.”

One of the police officers is heard to ask him “Are you going to behave yourself?” before telling him to “Stay down”.

He then stands up and asks onlookers who are filming the incident to “move back”, while another clip shows more police officers arriving at the scene.

A man was arrested at the scene and on Friday was charged with possession of a knife in a public place.

Marcus Coutain, 45, will appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Saturday.

The Met said its directorate of professional standards carried out an assessment and the force has referred the incident to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Sir Steve said: “The video footage that I have seen today and is circulating on social media is extremely disturbing. I understand that many viewing the footage will share my concern.

“The man involved was arrested, taken to a police station and has now been seen by a police doctor

“Some of the techniques used cause me great concern – they are not taught in police training.

“We have quickly assessed the incident, including the body worn video footage from the officers and their statements and justification for their use of force. As a result we have referred the matter to the IOPC.

“One officer has been suspended and another officer has been removed from operational duty, but not suspended at this time. This decision will be kept under review.

“We will co-operate fully with the IOPC investigation.”

Scotland Yard said the man detained and arrested at the scene remains in police custody.

The video is the latest to cause controversy amid growing scrutiny of police interactions with black people in the UK following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on May 25.

Mr Floyd, who was black, died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes, sparking anti-racism protests in countries around the world.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “I’m deeply concerned about this distressing incident and we have raised this with senior officers at the Met Police as a matter of urgency.

“I welcome the fact the incident has been reviewed quickly by the Met and it’s right that they have referred it to the IOPC.

“I look forward to a swift and thorough independent investigation, with all decisions made public.

“It’s crucial our police service continues to earn the trust of the communities it serves.”

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds added: “This an extremely concerning incident. It is right that it is quickly referred to the IOPC and an officer has been suspended.

“I will be following this closely: we are policed by consent and that relies on the highest levels of respect and professionalism.”

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