West Midlands Police Under Investigation Over Alleged Excessive Force Against Black Men

Sarah Turnnidge
Nine investigations into the incidents are underway. (Photo: monkeybusinessimages via Getty Images)

Six alleged cases of excessive force used against Black men by West Midlands Police are under investigation.

Police watchdog The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has launched nine investigations into the cases, which include a fractured ankle, two uses of a Taser, and the stop and search of a 15-year-old boy. 

Four of the incidents involve alleged use of force by one officer who has been suspended by the force, while two investigations are scrutinising the actions of officers who were in supervisory roles when those incidents took place.

The West Midlands regional director for the IOPC has spoken out to “reassure” local communities about their concerns surrounding excessive force.

Derrick Campbell said: “We are now looking at nine investigations connected to alleged excessive use of force on Black men following six separate incidents in the Birmingham area since February.

“Footage from some of these incidents was circulated via social media and the mainstream media, and I have personally called in some of these matters for investigation using my powers under the Police Reform Act after concerns were raised with me by the community.

“I would like to reassure communities in the West Midlands that full, fair and thorough independent investigations are under way into all of these incidents and the conduct matters brought to our attention by the force. That is our role.

“I am also conscious that we do not pre-empt the outcome of these investigations. Our inquiries are 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 towards some of the men involved.”

The six incidents reported include the use of a Taser on a man in Handsworth on February 27, the arrest of a man riding a bicycle in Frederick Road, Birmingham, on April 20, the stop and search of a 15-year-old boy in Newtown on April 21, the detention of a man stopped in a Handsworth street on April 23, the use of force on a man, including deployment of Taser, following a foot chase in Winson Green on May 4 and a fractured ankle sustained by a man arrested in Digbeth on May 14.

Footage of the incident involving the teenager was shared widely on social media at the time of the incident and shows an officer striking and kicking the boy. The IOPC launched an investigation into the incident, while the boy’s mother also made a formal complaint.

The watchdog said it was later made aware of a second incident involving the same officer where it is alleged excessive force was used against another member of the public. 

Campbell said the use of force by police was an “essential tool” to enable officers to respond to “dangerous and challenging situations”, but stressed actions must be “reasonable, appropriate and proportionate.”

He added: “I am fully aware of the impact these incidents can have on public confidence in policing and again reiterate that we will look at these matters thoroughly and fairly. I would also stress that West Midlands Police force is co-operating fully with us.”

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.