'I could so easily have died': Wretch 32's father on being shot with Taser
A 62-year-old black man – the father of rapper Wretch 32 – who was shot with a Taser inside his home by police before he fell and lost consciousness, has said officers did not search his house for drugs despite claiming the raid was part of a drugs operation.
Millard Scott was shot with a Taser during a raid by five officers at the height of the pandemic. The family were shielding because Scott cares for his 23-year-old son Shaquille, who is severely disabled with cerebral palsy.
He said he was looking after Shaquille in an upstairs bedroom when he heard a commotion downstairs at his home in north London. As he stepped outside the bedroom to see what was going on he was shot with a Taser by police and fell down the stairs.
When Scott regained consciousness two Taser darts had to be removed from his chest. The incident came to light only after his other son, Jermaine Scott, AKA Wretch 32, shared footage of it on social media, leading to widespread condemnation.
In the footage, Scott’s partner, 52, can be heard saying: “Social distancing, please don’t touch me.” She has since been charged with obstruction, which she denies.
“I could so easily have died and had my name added to the long list of black people who have died at the hands of the police in Tottenham,” Scott told the Guardian. “I’m not a gang member. I don’t sell drugs. The police are not saying that I attacked them yet they Tasered me at the top of a flight of stairs.”
He said that when he saw footage from a police body-worn camera he was re-traumatised. “I know what it means to have people killed in our community. Our community can’t seem to find ‘herd immunity’ against the police.”
Scott and his brother Stafford Scott are longstanding campaigners for justice against police brutality, especially in Tottenham, where there is a long history of tension between police and the black community.
“The incident against my dad was horrific,” Wretch 32 said. “We are loud enough to put this out there and loud enough to obtain a certain level of attention. But not everyone who experiences something like this can do that. Nobody in the black community is exempt from this kind of treatment. I have to tell my children the same things about the police I was told by my dad and my uncle when I was growing up. It’s the same story now that it was then. This story has got a very long timeline.”
Another son of Millard Scott, the twin brother of Shaquille, was charged with encouraging another to commit a serious offence, an incident understood to relate to speaking on the phone to someone who was in prison who had obtained an illicit mobile phone.
These calls were alleged to have occurred at least three months prior to the raid. Although the Met put out a statement after the Tasering footage went viral, saying the raid on the family home was “part of a long-running operation to tackle drugs supply linked to serious violence in the borough of Haringey”, the family say the police did not conduct any search of the house for drugs.
A letter seen by the Guardian has been sent to the Metropolitan police commissioner, Cressida Dick, by Millard Scott’s solicitor Raju Bhatt, asking why police did not apprehend the young man they wanted to question away from the family home some time in the preceding three months.
Bhatt added in his letter: “I know you will be aware of the concerns within Tottenham about the policing of the community, especially in the context of the current lockdown. I am sure you recognise that incidents like this serve only to undermine any attempts at providing reassurance in the face of those concerns.”
The National Police Chiefs’ Council has announced it is commissioning independent research into the use of Tasers by police, after it emerged that black men are eight times more likely to have Tasers drawn on them than other groups.
Stafford Scott said his brother could easily have died in the incident. “The police have stigmatised my family with drugs. How dare they?
“There has been rising concern within the community in relation to the oppressive nature of policing locally. The video of my brother has increased this to a real anger and also a fear as people wonder: who will be next? Seeing this in the midst of a pandemic where black people are dying in disproportionately high numbers only adds to the frustration and anger that’s clearly brewing.”
An original statement by the Met said the incident had been reviewed by the Metropolitan police’s directorate of professional standards “and no indication of misconduct has been identified”.
The case has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.