A police officer is being investigated for common assault and gross misconduct after “deeply disturbing” footage emerged of them appearing to kneel on a man’s neck during an arrest.
Marcus Coutain, 48, was filmed pleading with officers to “get off my neck” as he was handcuffed on the ground in Islington, north London, last month.
The nature of his arrest is being looked into by police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which will determine whether the officers “treated the man differently because of his race”.
Coutain, who is black, has been charged with possessing a knife in a public place.
But he has called for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to drop the charge and also wants a formal apology from the Metropolitan Police.
His lawyer, Timur Rustem, told a court that Coutain had “a lawful reason” for having the blade on him, saying it was for repairing his bicycle.
One officer has been suspended and another placed on restricted duties after the incident.
Scotland Yard deputy commissioner Sir Steve House said the footage was “deeply concerning” and added that some of the techniques were “not taught in police training”, causing him “great concern”.
Appealing for witnesses, the IOPC said: “One officer has been advised that they are subject to a criminal investigation for common assault and investigation for gross misconduct on use of force; authority, respect and courtesy; discreditable conduct and honesty and integrity.
“A second officer has been advised they are subject to a misconduct investigation on challenging and reporting improper conduct; authority, respect and courtesy and honesty and integrity.”
Regional director Sal Naseem said the watchdog will look at whether the use of force was “appropriate and proportionate”.
Coutain appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court last month over the knife charge.
He has pleaded not guilty and was granted technical bail as the case was sent to Snaresbrook Crown Court on 17 August by district judge Gillian Allison.
Witnesses of the arrest are asked to call 03003035724 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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