Police in Britain and Wales may fire their guns less than 10 times a year – shocking, right? – but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to racial profiling.
Officers in Bristol, which is 120 miles west of London, are under fire for using a taser on a black man outside of his home while they were looking for a robbery suspect. The biggest of many problems in the altercation is that the man, 63-year-old Judah Adunbi, has spent years working to repair race relations with local police, according to The Washington Post.
Adunbi’s altercation with police was captured on video by a neighbor. While he chose to not give the officers his name, which he isn’t required to do, he cooperated by raising his hands above his head when they warned him that he was holding his keys in an aggressive manner.
“I’ve done no wrong,” he said. “Leave me alone.”
“I’ve asked you to remain calm,” an officer later told him after the altercation began to escalate.
“Your sergeant is going to Taser me for whatever reason,” said Adunbi.
Moments later, an officer fired her taser, striking Adunbi below the chin, sending 50,000 volts through his body. He was momentarily paralyzed and hit his head on the pavement and later taken to the hospital.
“To know that one of the [founding] members of the Independent Advisory Group, which was created some years ago to improve the relationship between the Afro-Caribbean community and the constabulary, and to be treated like this, it’s difficult,” Adunbi said.
Chief Police Superintendent Jon Reilly told the media that the officers were wearing their body cameras during the incident and that the incident was reported to the Independent Police Complaints Commission in an effort to be open and transparent.
“We’re aware of concerns within the local community, and we take these concerns very seriously,” said Reilly. “We would like to answer their questions, but we need to be mindful that an investigation is ongoing, which makes that difficult.”
In Britain, 29 percent of the reported cases of excessive police force in the past five years involved Black people, despite them only being 14 percent of the population.
“I felt that was it. Because of the way I fell back. The way I fell backward on the back of my head. I was just paralysed. I thought that was it. I thought they were taking my life,” Adunbi told The Guardian.
Adunbi was arrested and charged while at the hospital, but those charges were subsequently dropped.
Photo Courtesy: Wiki Commons