Haringey Metropolitan police’s Taser usage under investigation

Police Taser 62-year-old man

Rapper Wretch 32 at Jersey Live in 2011
Wikicommons

By Luchia Robinson

Shocking video footage showing police officers using a Taser on a 62- year-old Tottenham resident, has led many to question the use of the incapacitating weapon.

The clip released online by music artist, Wretch 32 shows the officers forcefully entering a home. When inside, they call out: “Police officer with a Taser, stay where you are.” An officer ascends the residential staircase, using a Taser when reaching the top of the steps. A man is then seen falling backward from a height.

The injured person is Millard Scott, the father of Wretch 32, whose real name is Jermaine Scott.

Speaking of the incident, which happened in April, Wretch 32 told ITV News that he’s spent his whole life witnessing his family fight against police brutality, and there has been “no progression”.

Millard Scott believes that he would not have been Tasered if he was a white man. He says he is “lucky to be alive” and is adamant that the Black community are being “singled out and targeted.”

A spokesperson from the Metropolitan Police said a 22-year-old man at the house was arrested and charged with encouraging another to commit an offence. A 52-year old woman was also arrested, and later charged with obstructing the police.

The police state that the Taser was deployed after “several warnings,” and that no indication of misconduct had been identified by the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards.

Oliver Feeley-Sprague, Amnesty International UK’s policing expert and member of the independent advisory group to the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on Tasers, said: “There are numerous red flags raised by this very disturbing incident.

“Tasers are potentially lethal weapons, linked to hundreds of deaths in the USA and a growing number in Britain, and we’ve always said that UK police forces needed to restrict their use to highly-trained specialist officers. This appalling footage underscores that call.

“It beggars belief that the Met’s own professional standards body has concluded there is no case to answer here. This is yet another litmus test for the Met’s claim that Black lives matter to them.”

Stafford Scott, a local community activist and brother of Millard Scott, said: “Although I was aware that my older brother had been Tasered I was shocked to the core when I saw the actual video.

“This is totally unacceptable; my brother was in his home looking after his severely disabled child. He is not a gangster or drug dealer, just a father.

“He heard a commotion in his home and his partner screaming out his name. He did what anyone would have done, he attempted to see what the hell was going on.

“These animals did not need to do that. I cannot describe them as law enforcement officers as the law requires that the Taser is only drawn when an officer is under threat. We have all seen the video, my brother poses no threat at the best of times.

He added: “The police are behaving like an occupying force. They are entering the homes of some of the most vulnerable families in our community. They do so without search warrants and in the most violent fashion possible as their intent is to terrify those they target.

“Someone is going to die at this rate. We are fortunate that it wasn’t my 62-year-old brother on this occasion. But this is Tottenham, we will stand up against racist policing, and it does not get more racially motivated than this.”

Just over a week after Millard Scott was Tasered, another occurrence involving a man in his 20s took place in Burgoyne Road, N4. According to a police statement, the man ‘ran off’ when approached by officers. He was then chased and Tasered as he jumped over a wall, falling and suffering serious, life changing injuries.

Both Millard Scott’s case and that of the paralysed young man, were issued to be investigated by The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

A 2018 study conducted as part of The Guardian’s Bias in Britain project,
showed that the Metropolitan Police Tasered black people more than four times as often as white people. When addressing concerns about disproportionate use of force amongst Black people in several cases across London, IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem said:

“We will complete full and independent investigations looking at all the circumstances and whether the use of force by officers was justified and proportionate in each of these instances.

“We are also looking into complaints that police allegedly acted in a discriminatory manner where these incidents involved Black people. The outcome of our independent investigations will not be prejudiced and will remain impartial.”

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