Black man felt ‘belittled’ when Met Police handcuffed him in stop and search in his own garden

·3-min read
A file picture of a stop and search (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Archive)
A file picture of a stop and search (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Archive)

The Metropolitan Police have been criticised for their “heavy-handed” stop and search tactics after officers handcuffed a black man in his own front garden.

The force was made to payout £10,000 to Navern De La Kruz, 31, who was opening the gate of his home to a friend when he was wrongly handcuffed and detained for a search.

His lawyers said officers claimed he matched the description of a knife crime suspect when he was detained.

They added he is still waiting for an official apology from Scotland Yard even after they agreed to pay him damages.

The stop-and-search was conducted in the communal front garden of Mr De La Kruz’s gated mews in June 2020.

The police claimed to use a power of search under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 but his lawyers at Bhatt Murphy pointed out those powers cannot be used in a private dwelling.

Mr De La Kruz said: “I felt so belittled to be stopped, searched and handcuffed in my garden for something I had nothing to do with.

“More than two years have passed since the incident and I still haven’t received any apology from the police but sadly that is exactly what I expected.

“I sought to hold the police to account because I want others, and particularly the younger generation of black queens and kings, to know that the misuse of stop and search and handcuffs is not okay, and that it can be challenged.

“I sincerely hope that lessons will be learnt from my case to ensure that officers act within their powers and understand the impact incidents like this can have on confidence in policing.”

Sohini Mehta, of east London law firm Bhatt Murphy, said: “This case is yet another example of the heavy-handed use of stop and search and handcuffing on Black people without adequate justification. My client has still not received an apology from the police.

“The Met must show that they are committed to stamping out discrimination and disproportionality in their practices and implement the recommendations made to them by the IOPC and HMICFRS.”

The Met has been under pressure to review stop-and-search tactics after high profile cases of Child Q who was strip searched at a Hackney school without an adult present.

In June a police watchdog investigated the mistaken stop and search of a 14-year-old black schoolboy who was bundled to the ground and handcuffed.

Asthmatic De-Shaun Joseph, 14, told ITV he thought he was going to die when he was restrained by Metropolitan Police officers near Blackhorse Lane tram stop in Croydon, south London, on June 23.

His mother has made an official complaint alleging that the officers used excessive force and treated him differently because he is a black teenager.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said that investigators want to make contact with anyone who witnessed what happened.

Scotland Yard has been approached for comment.