Police brutalised another schoolboy. Scrapping stop and search is long overdue.

Police officers allegedly brutalise 13-year-old schoolboy during stop and search
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Content warning: the video below contains footage some readers may find distressing

On 20 September, footage emerged of Metropolitan Police officers allegedly brutalising 13-year-old Benjamin Olajive during a stop and search in Streatham, south London. This is the latest in a number of incidents in September which have intensified calls from campaigners to scrap the practice, which police continue to use disproportionately and excessively against Black people.

Nothing but an afro comb

On 20 September, a mob of Metropolitan Police officers stopped 13-year-old Olajive while searching for a Black person carrying a knife. Olajive, who has ADHD and PTSD, was wearing his school uniform at the time. In distressing footage, he can be heard crying out: “my hands, my hands” as officers forcefully handcuff him. Members of the local community soon rushed to support Olajive, and demand that officers answer for their actions.

Sharing some footage of the incident, one person tweeted:

After a 45 minute search, the ‘offensive’ item officers found turned out to be an afro comb. Criminal defence lawyer Aamer Anwar shared:

Questioning officers’ decision to take the boy to the police station having found nothing but an afro comb, barrister Michael Etienne shared:

Olajive’s mother Zeyna Kada has accused the Metropolitan Police of using excessive force against her son. She states that officers “manhandled”, “strangled” and “scratched” him, and failed to take his ADHD and PTSD into account. Photos allegedly show blood on the sleeves of Olajive’s school shirt from where officers handcuffed the boy.

Another photo shows the 13-year-old with a swollen eye following the incident. Kada maintains that her son is traumatised as a result of his distressing encounter with police. According to the Metropolitan Police, the complaint regarding the incident is under investigation.

Outrage

Expressing her dismay at the incident, Streatham MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy shared:

Highlighting the historic criminalisation of afro combs in Britain, Black and Asian Lawyers for Justice shared:

Calling on the Met to provide Olajive with compensation and mental health support following the traumatic ordeal, children and young people’s mental health lead at the Centre for Mental Health Kadra Abdinasir said:

Time to scrap stop and search

The incident came just two weeks after footage emerged of a school-based police officer assaulting an autistic 10-year-old pupil. And on 13 September, a Metropolitan Police officer injured a 70-year-old Black man during a stop and search in Bromley, south east London.

Meanwhile, an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) report published in September found that police racially profiled school support worker Dwayne Francis in a stop and search. These incidents reflect the reality that police continue to use stop and search powers disproportionately against Black people, with most searches not leading to an arrest.

Highlighting the police’s excessive and disproportionate use of stop and search powers against Black people, Black Lives Matter UK shared:

Explaining the harmful impact that state violence has on Black children, psychologist Guilaine Kinouani said:

Calling for an end to harmful stop and search practices once and for all, Manchester-based campaigner Deej Malik-Johnson tweeted:

Citing the incident as further evidence of the harm that investing the police with more powers could cause (as set out in the government’s proposed draconian Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill) John O’Connell said:

Decades of evidence point to the fact that stop and search practices don’t work to curb crime, and only serve to control and traumatise marginalised people and communities. It’s time to scrap the harmful practice once and for all.

Featured image via Metro – Screengrab

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  • Show Comments
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    2. You could scrap stop-and-search, but police will just carry on and have everything covered up and exonerated. There is no interest in reform, no dialogue with the public other than to learn how to evolve this systemic dysfunction.

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