26 Jul Met Police commander defends ‘terrifying’ arrest of boy, 12, playing with toy gun | UK News
A Metropolitan Police commander has defended the arrest of a 12-year-old boy who was playing with a toy gun.
Kai Agyepong was arrested by officers who stormed his home with sniffer dogs in Camden, north London, on Thursday 17 July after a member of the public reported seeing a firearm being held by a black male.
But it was actually a BB pellet gun, which had been fitted with a blue slider to distinguish it from the real thing.
Kai’s mother Alice Agyepong criticised the force’s response to the incident, adding that she felt her son was racially profiled and her family had been “utterly violated”.
On Sunday, commander Kyle Gordon published a statement saying that – after reviewing the footage from body cams worn by his officers – he was “content” with their actions.
He added: “Officers attending reports such as this must treat them as genuine until they can verify whether or not an actual firearm is present.
“Based on the information at hand, the officers acted in line with their training and my expectations – enabling the incident to be concluded as quickly and safely as possible.”
He added: “I have personally watched body worn video of the incident and whilst I can understand concerns in terms of how the incident has been reported in some quarters, I am content from what I have seen that the officers were professional throughout and took time to explain to the residents what was happening and why.
“The reporting member of the public was right to call us and we would encourage others who see similar weapons to do the same. We are committed to bearing down on violence and we rely on our communities to help us do this.”
Officers dearrested the youngster when they realised the gun was a toy, but Ms Agyepong said her son had been left traumatised by the incident.
Ms Agyepong, who also has two daughters at home aged 16 and 23, said Kai has since become anxious if she even leaves him just to go to the shops.
She added: “In my mind there was no question they were going to shoot us. Their guns were drawn in such a way they were aiming their rifles at me and my kids.
“It was very, very humiliating but more than that, for me and my kids it was terrifying.”
It comes after a series of incidents which have led to the force being criticised about how it treats black people.
Last week, a video of an officer appearing to kneel on a man’s neck as he was arrested in north London emerged.
Marcus Coutain was later charged with possession of a knife in a public place.
The 48-year-old appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on 18 July and pleaded not guilty. The case has been sent to Snaresbrook Crown Court and will continue on 17 August.
Deputy commissioner, Sir Steve House, said the footage of the arrest was “concerning” and referred the incident to police watchdog Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
One officer has been suspended and another has been put on restricted duties following the arrest.
In a separate incident, Great Britain sprinter Bianca Williams accused the force of racial profiling after she and her partner, Ricardo dos Santos, were pulled from their car in a London street in a stop and search.
Met Commissioner Cressida Dick apologised to Williams and her partner, but has said she “did not personally accept that what we have seen so far on the video” depicts racism.
The case has also been referred to the IOPC.