A London police officer has been suspended after footage emerged that appeared to show him kneeling on a black man’s neck during an arrest, media reports said.
Video footage of the incident in Islington, London on Thursday evening showed two officers holding down the handcuffed suspect who was lying on the pavement, with one of them appearing to have his knee on the man’s neck area, reports Xinhua news agency.
The local media reports said that the suspect can be heard shouting “Get off my neck” in the footage.
He is eventually released from the ground and continues to talk to officers after they sit him up.
Several police cars arrive at the scene after the arresting officers are confronted by onlookers.
The second officer has been removed from operational duty following the incident, according to a statement of the Metropolitan Police Service.
The Met Police said they have referred the case to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which investigates incidents and allegations involving the police.
The statement said the man was “arrested at the scene on suspicion of affray and possession of an offensive weapon”.
Steve House, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said that the video footage is “extremely disturbing”, adding that the man involved “has now been seen by a police doctor”.
“I’m deeply concerned about this distressing incident and we have raised this with senior officers at the Met Police as a matter of urgency,” the BBC quoted London Mayor Sadiq Khan as saying on Friday in response to the incident.
“I welcome the fact the incident has been reviewed quickly by the Met and it’s right that they have referred it to the IOPC.”
The incident came amid global protests against police brutality triggered by the killing of African-American man, George Floyd in police custody in May.
On May 25 in Minneapolis, police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck, despite the latter repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe”.
Chauvin, faces several charges including second-degree murder, while the other three officers – Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao – are charged with aiding and abetting murder.