London: Black Father and Son Say They Were Attacked By Police In Mistaken Identity Arrest

The man and his son were in a charity bike ride when they say they were racially profiled.

A Black father and son in London were tackled by a plainclothes police officer while they were participating in a charity bike ride earlier this month and now calls have gone out to investigate the behavior of the police who were involved.

Andrew Boateng, 43 and his son Huugo, 13, were bike riding along the route of the River Lea in North London when the officer grabbed the boy, causing him to fall into some bushes. The father and son said there was no cause for what happened.

“If this was a normal stop and search, I could respect that. But it is obvious why we were treated the way we were,” Andrew Boateng told U.K. newspaper The Observer. “The police came in at high-octane aggression level 10. We were on a family bike ride, and my son was essentially assaulted by a police officer. We were threatened with Tasers even though we weren’t resisting, and then just put in handcuffs.”

The encounter took place on June 4, and between six and eight officers were called to the scene. In a statement, the London Metropolitan police said, “The Met has received a complaint from a member of the public in relation to this incident. The Met takes all complaints seriously and this will be thoroughly investigated.”
The father and son, however, maintain that they were detained without cause or explanation.

“I’d turned around to see if my dad had caught up behind me, and suddenly this man came out of nowhere,” Huugo Boatang said The Observer. “He was crazy angry and shouting. I got scared because I thought he might be mugging me or trying to give me corona so I ran, but there was nowhere to go but in the bushes.”

While the younger Boatang was being handcuffed and arrested, his father was also detained and cuffed further down the towpath. Police say that the two were suspected to be linked to a stabbing that occurred nearby where a suspect matched Andrew Boateng’s description, to which he replied: “Everyone is matching my description as far as you’re concerned!”

The Boatengs, who live in the Tottenham district of London, said they were humiliated by what happened. Huugo had lacerations to his face and bruised legs. David Lammy, the district’s representative in British parliament, called for a probe to further investigate their claims against the police.

“It has understandably caused alarm in the community,” said Lammy. “Frankly, this could have been me and my teenage son, both of us having cycled down that path on many occasions. A complaint has been lodged and, given a minor was injured, it is essential there is a thorough investigation.”

Treena Fleming, the London Met’s Detective Chief Superintendent said the department had spoken to the father and son about the situation.

“In the hours following the incident, one of my senior leadership team spoke with the parties involved to offer a personal explanation about the situation and to listen to and understand their concerns,” she told The Observer. We are keen to maximise any learning that comes from this.”

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