A London law enforcement official defended officers who were accused of using excessive force against a 12-year-old boy who was playing with a toy gun.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police arrived at Kai Agyepong’s home on July 17 after a passerby saw him holding the toy and called in a report about a “black male holding a firearm on the sofa,” as reported by BBC. The preteen was taken into custody while the police searched his family’s home with dogs.
“When I opened the door, they said, ‘get on the floor and put your hands above your head’ and then they handcuffed me and put me in the police car. The handcuffs really hurt and I asked them to loosen them but they wouldn’t and I had marks around my wrists when I took them off,” he recalled to The Camden New Journal.
Alice Mina Agyepong, the boy’s mother, described the experience as “terrible” and humiliating.” While her son was detained, Alice Mina Agyepong and her two daughters had to watch as Met officers “ransacked” her home.
“I’d fallen asleep and I woke up to my son opening the door and officers were pointing guns at him and he was immediately arrested. There must’ve been about 25 police officers, 10 armed officers with weapons with red laser lights. All I could see was police cars and lights,” she recalled.
“I told them almost straight away that there were no weapons in the house, only a toy gun belonging to my son but we were shouted at to put our hands above our heads and walk one by one out to the street. We were all terrified,” Alice Mina Agyepong added. She said the gun did not have any pellets in it.
After the pellet gun was recovered, the officers “dearrested” Kai. No charges were filed.
Commander Kyle Gordon, senior firearms officer at The Met, defended the officers’ conduct during the incident.
“I have personally watched body-worn video of the incident, and whilst I can understand concerns in terms of how the incident has been reported in some quarters, I am content from what I have seen that the officers were professional throughout and took time to explain to the residents what was happening and why,” he told BBC.
Alice Mina Agyepong disagrees.
“I understand the police have to follow up on reports but it was excessive given that all they had was someone who reported seeing something through half-drawn blinds, then all hell broke loose, the only thing missing was tear gas and helicopters,” she said.
The experience reminded her high-profile stories of Black Americans being killed by law enforcement.
“There’s something wrong with society if you can be at home not breaking any laws but in a nanosecond police can burst in and put you and your loved ones lives at risk,” she said. “This is not America, it’s London.”
The case has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for review. Alice Agyepong also filed a formal complaint.