The London Metropolitan Police is under fire after they allegedly choked a 13-year-old boy after mistaking his afro pick for a gun.
Benjamin Olajive was stepping off a bus on his way home from school. The police officers say they were responding to a report of a person with a knife, confronted him and mistook his comb for a knife.
Benjamin’s mother, Zeyna Kada, uploaded the video of the arrest to social media. In the video, Olajive, who has ADHD, screams for help as several officers accost him. The teen cries that his hands are in pain, his wrists tightly pulled behind his back.
Witnesses can be seen directing the police to release the boy. The incident went on for 45 minutes. The alleged choking was not caught on camera. Still, officers arrested Olajive, claiming that he “physically resisted and tried to get away” from officers and “caused dents” in a police car by kicking it numerous times.
“Benjamin was waiting for the 109 bus, and we were speaking on the phone, and he told me that he was going to McDonald’s. Then five officers rushed to him, and he was really confused as it was his first experience with police, so he was not expecting any of it and did not know what was happening,” his mother said in a statement.
She added: “They put him in handcuffs and pushed his head down. Then they told him they received a call about someone matching his description carrying a nine-inch knife. Members of the public started gathering around. He took out a comb and said that this is what he has. No one is against stopping and searching people, but this is a child, and they checked him three times for 45 minutes and nothing, so why did they not let him go? My child is now traumatized.”
The Met is standing by its arrest.
“The boy was identified by CCTV cameras, and officers responded. When approached, the boy physically resisted and tried to get away from the officers. He was restrained and handcuffed in order to allow a search to be carried out. A knife was not found,” a statement from the department reads. “The item that had initially been seen by a member of the public was identified as an afro comb. As he was being restrained, he kicked a police car a number of times, causing dents. He was arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage.”