A British mother plans to sue the Metropolitan Police after officers stormed her home and arrested her 12-year-old son after he was seen with a toy gun.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police, however, says he reviewed the incident and believes the officers worked professionally and well within their scope of duties.
What are the details?
Alice Mina Agyepong, 42, said that she was napping in her home last week when “dozens of officers” raided her Camden, England, home and took her 12-year-old son, Kai, into custody.
According to the Evening Standard, a passerby reportedly phoned police after seeing the child with a toy gun in his living room.
When officers arrived in Agyepong’s home, they handcuffed the terrified child and arrested him.
When it was clear that the officers made a mistake, they removed the cuffs and released the 12-year-old.
Agyepong, who is black, said that the police racially profiled her son, who has never been in trouble with the law.
“I’d fallen asleep on the sofa and Kai was next to me on the laptop,” she said. “There was this loud knock at the door and they were shouting ‘Armed police, get your hands up!’ Kai opened the door and was handcuffed.”
Agyepong said her two daughters ran down the stairs to discover the source of the fracas.
“I could see the little red laser lights from the police guns on my children,” she recalled. “I just tried to keep them all calm because I was scared one of them was going to get hurt. We had to walk slowly out of the house with our hands up.”
The outlet reported that Agyepong and her daughters “were made to stand in a neighboring road in their nightclothes for more than an hour” while police and their sniffer dogs scoured Agyepong’s three-story home for a firearm. Kai was forced into the back of a police van during the search.
The only gun investigators turned up was Kai’s plastic pellet gun.
‘What must the neighbors have thought?’
Agyepong, who is a housing association governance officer, launched a complaint with the department accusing it of racial profiling. The outlet reports that the case has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
Agyepong said that her son never even saw an actual firearm until that evening.
“What must the neighbors have thought?” she said. “It was humiliating. Kai is trying to put on a brave face, but he is embarrassed. This shouldn’t be happening to any innocent person, let alone a child his age.”
Kai told the outlet that frightening ordeal was painful.
“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. “They arrested me for having a firearm, and I told them ‘I don’t have a gun’ and I’ve never seen a proper gun in real life before.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the department said, “A male in the property was arrested on suspicion of a possession of a firearm and taken into a police van. Officers found an item which was identified as a toy ‘BB’ gun and not a firearm. The officers de-arrested the youth and he and the other members of his family returned into their address. A senior officer contacted the teenager’s mother to discuss her concerns.”
‘We take every report of a firearm seriously’
A spokesperson for the department told the BBC that the department’s “most senior firearms officer” is “content” with the way the search on Agyepong’s home was carried out.
Commander Kyle Gordon insisted that the officers were nothing but professional throughout the entire ordeal.
He also said that the department takes seriously any incidents of reports of firearms possession in the area.
“There have been a number of well-publicized shootings in London in recent months where members of the public have been injured, and as the public would rightly expect we take every report of a firearm seriously in order to protect our communities,” Gordon said.
“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 added.
Armed police raid house and arrest 12-year-old over a toy gun!