Black man dies after repeated tasering from police led him to jump into the Thames

police taser
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The Metropolitan Police tasered a Black man several times on Chelsea Bridge Road in London. As they advanced on him, the man fled and jumped into the river Thames. He was rescued from the river by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The man is as yet unnamed. As usual, people have to rely on civilian recordings of the incident to see what actually happened.

Operation Withdraw Consent shared the footage a bystander recorded:

Read on...

The police have said they received reports that the man was holding a screwdriver. As the video shows, he is clearly in some distress.

As the police taser him, he falls to the ground screaming in pain. He yells something at the two officers advancing on him. They then tase him again and the man rolls on the ground, twitching. This happens yet another time. The man then runs over a barrier at the side. As the officers pursue him, he jumps over the railing and into the Thames.


We can trust neither the mainstream media nor the police to accurately report what happened.

The police said that after their officers tasered the man he:

subsequently entered the river.

A number of outlets also used similar euphemisms. The Independent said the man “fell”:


The BBC also said the man fell:


Sky News made it sound as though the man simply fell into the Thames and was then pulled out:


By saying that the man “fell” into the river, the media are neatly following the narrative the police set out. There’s a huge difference between saying that the man was involved in an incident with tasers and “entered” the river, and saying that he jumped into the river after being repeatedly tasered.


Many people on social media discussed these awful policing tactics. Others also noticed the terrible reporting:

Commentator Michael Morgan said:

Meanwhile Deborah Coles, director of charity INQUEST which monitors state-related deaths, said:

And outgoing Goldsmiths student union president Sara Bafo said we must withdraw power from the police:

Moreover, journalist Lorraine King explained how Black people are more likely to be tasered for longer than white people:


Figures from the Home Office a year ago show:

Black people were four times more likely to have force used against them by Met police officers than white people, and five times more likely to have Taser-like devices used against them by the force.

As King said above, Black people are also more likely to be tased for longer. A report from the Independent Office for Police Conduct found that Black people are more likely to have a taser fired at them for longer than 5 seconds. They also said:

In the majority of cases involving either allegations of discrimination or common stereotypes and assumptions, there was evidence that the individual concerned had mental health concerns or a learning disability. This supports findings by others that the intersectionality of race and mental health can increase the risk of higher levels of use of force.

If the media reports the police’s actions in a passive or sanitised way, it only enables them to continue to be violent towards Black people. This man did not “fall” into the river. He died trying to escape police violence.

Just last month, Operation Withdraw Consent said:

We want our communities to be given the power to respond to the 80 per cent of non-criminal incidents that the police respond to – as we believe that a community response, rooted in resolution and meeting individual needs, would have better outcomes.

We must withdraw our consent from aggressive policing. And in order to do that, we need to be able to understand and call out journalism that’s in service to the police and not the public.

Featured image via Twitter/screenshot – Operation Withdraw Consent

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