WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
April 22 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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Armed officers surround 13-year-old after water pistol mistaken for a firearm

Armed officers surround 13-year-old after water pistol mistaken for a firearm

A 13-year-old black boy was “rammed” off his bike and surrounded by armed police whilst engaging in a water fight with his sibling.

The incident, which occurred in Hackney, London, in July of this year, saw the armed officers point their submachine guns at the young boy before arresting him for possession of a firearm. The Alliance for Police Accountability said the pistols were coloured blue and pink and unmistakably toys.

As reported in the BBC, the boy’s mother felt “betrayed” by the officers’ actions and said: ‘I know – and the police know – that they would not have treated my son in the way they did if he had been a white 13 year-old boy.’

The mother also discussed her own treatment saying the officers would not have treated her with “contempt” or described her as “aggressive” if she was not black. She described feeling “in shock” and “broken by it all” because she was unable to protect her child from what happened.

The BBC reports that DCS Conway has apologised to the family for the “extremely distressing” incident and sought to reassure the public. The police were initially called after reports of a gun in the street and officers are told that they “should treat all firearms as real and loaded until proven otherwise.”

The boy’s mother has twice asked the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to investigate the incident, but this request was refused as “the investigation must be carried out by the police themselves.” The internal investigation found there was no misconduct on the part of the police but there is a further complaint of racial bias which is still being investigated by the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards.

The boy’s mother describes feeling “let down” by the police, the IOPC, and “by the whole system that is supposed to look after our children, black or white” emphasising that “they deserve better.” She explains she does not know “how to tell her children to turn to the police for help” in the future.

The BBC report the Alliance for Police Accountability said “the treatment of this child and the horrific scene that unfolded was appalling” and that it was clear the boy’s mother was treated with contempt by the officers.

As reported in the Guardian, Lee Jasper of the APA said, “This case has huge implications and poses serious questions for the mayor and the London Policing Board” along with “the Met Commissioner and Hackney,” which was the borough where Child Q, a black girl, was strip-searched in the school. He explained, “Adultification of Black children continues to be an increasing aspect of systemic and institutionalised police racism.”