Photography: Martin Godwin/The Guardian
The Metropolitan Police have apologized more than two years after an insurer sitting in his car outside his home was handcuffed, injured, frisked and held in a cell by officers seeking cannabis.
No drugs were found on Tariq Stanley, 30, who believes his race was the reason he was targeted. He said he was traumatized and sustained injuries to his left shoulder and wrist, which was in a splint for two months.
Stanley sued after a Met inquiry cleared the officers of wrongdoing.
The Met paid £22,500 in damages and its costs, before the case relating to the assault and false detention reached court.
Met Commander Jon Savell said: “We accepted responsibility for our actions on that day, which fell below expected standards.”
The Met insists that the way it conducts stop and searches is a crucial tactic in fighting crime.
Savell said law enforcement officials apologized “for the injuries and distress caused,” adding: “The officers acted with good intentions that day when they stopped and frisked the man. intending to get hurt.”
Stanley is the fifth young black man in recent weeks to be awarded damages by the Met after being searched for drugs without being found, costing police hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Stanley said he had fought for over two years to hold them accountable and that police had no reason to search him.
According to legal documents, Stanley was working from home on 17 April 2020 and at 7.30pm left his flat in Woolwich, south east London. Wearing a dressing gown and slippers, he sat in the front seat of his BMW car, put on headphones and a YouTube video, and lit a tobacco cigarette. His wife didn’t want her to smoke in their apartment.
A police van with six officers from the violent crimes task force pulled up behind his car. An officer said he could smell the cannabis and asked if he was smoking the drug.
Stanley said he misunderstood, thinking the officer had asked him if he had smoked and replied “Yes.” He insisted, contrary to the Met’s accusations, that he did not obstruct the drug search.
He was released without charge nine hours later, just before 5am.
Stanley said he had previously been stopped and searched twice since the age of 18. go beyond.
“The police have not changed. Surely not. We had to chase them down for an apology even after the lawyers agreed to it. They kept denying responsibility or doing something wrong, but then said there is money and an apology. It does not make sense.”
The Met said: “Due to government guidelines regarding Covid-19, officers approached the man to ascertain what he was doing in the area. Officers noticed a strong smell of cannabis coming from the vehicle and the man admitted to smoking the class B drug.
“The man, then 27, was informed that he would be held for the purposes of a drug bust. He was arrested on charges of obstructing a drug search following a scuffle with officers. It was during this fight that he sustained his injuries.
The Met said it would learn its lesson and said stops and searches between October 2021 and September 2022 led to the detection of more than 55,404 acts of crime, which was “critical to saving lives in the streets of London”.
Iain Gould, Stanley’s attorney, said: ‘Why wasn’t the apology Tariq undoubtedly deserved offered in response to his complaint, at the earlier, unforced stage, when it would have meant so much more…?
“Tariq’s case is another example of how broken the police reporting system is.”
Earlier this month the Guardian revealed that the Met paid damages to two brothers, Nicholas Peart and Leon Peart, who were strip-searched and handcuffed outside their family home in east London in April 2020.
While that case was settled before it reached court, a week later the Met settled mid-trial with Liam and Dijon Joseph being stopped and strip-searched after banging their fists in south London in 2018.
All four men believe they were targeted for stop and search because of their race, which the Met denies.
The Independent Office of Police Conduct, which declined to independently investigate Stanley’s complaint, said: “Law enforcement agencies are required to consider whether, following civil proceedings, there are conduct issues to record and report. We are not immediately aware that we have received any referrals in connection with this matter.