A Metropolitan Police officer filmed kneeling on the neck of a black man just weeks after the murder of George Floyd in the US should “reflect” on his actions, according to a watchdog.
An inquiry into the incident by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said that no evidence was found to suggest the member of the public was treated differently due to his race.
However, the probe did find the officer in question had a case to answer as his use of force may have been unnecessary and excessive.
Footage of the Met constable kneeling on the neck of a 48-year-old man was shared on social media following the incident on 16 July 2020 in Islington, north London.
The suspect could be heard in the footage shouting “get off my neck”, as he was detained on a pavement.
It came just weeks after Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, murdered George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for almost 10 minutes on 25 May, sparking protests around the world.
One of the officers involved in the London incident was questioned under criminal caution on suspicion of common assault.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided to take no further action, even after the 48-year-old appealed the decision.
An investigation was launched by the IOPC watchdog into the decision to stop and search the man, the level of force used and if he was treated differently due to his race.
The inquiry found the man was stopped as his clothes matched the description of a suspect involved in an incident which saw a white man beaten up by two black men on Isledon Road in Islington.
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The officer attempted to handcuff the man in order to search him for weapons, the IOPC said.
The investigation said the constable should “reflect and learn from the incident to prevent any issues identified from reoccurring” after he was found to have a case to answer for using excessive force.
The probe found the officer also had a misconduct case to answer concerning “authority, respect and courtesy” for the way he spoke to the man and nearby members of the public.
It was again said this could be dealt with through reflective practices.
IOPC investigators found no evidence the stopped man was treated differently because of his race, and that he was stopped because he matched the description of someone suspected of assault.
There was no evidence the second officer breached professional standards of behaviour.
IOPC regional director Sal Naseem said: “This was a thorough and detailed investigation of an incident that attracted considerable concern at the time because of a video going viral on social media.
“Stop and search is an intrusive and contentious police power which must always be used reasonably, proportionately and, where possible, should be intelligence-led.”
He added: “Following our investigation, we now understand the whole picture and on this occasion we found that officers had initiated the stop and search appropriately, based on the information they had been provided with.
“However, one of the officers may have used more force than necessary and his communication with the suspect and members of the public nearby may have been inappropriate.
“In these circumstances the officer will now work with their supervisor to reflect, learn and improve from what occurred, to prevent this from happening again.”