British police handcuff 90-year-old Black woman with dementia, put spit hood over her face

British police handcuff 90-year-old Black woman with dementia, put spit hood over her face

Though the woman was not arrested, she was threatened with the use of a taser.

Metropolitan Police officers are being investigated after a 90-year-old Black woman with dementia was handcuffed and put into a spit hood.

The police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), has launched a misconduct probe into six officers.

The elderly woman was detained on 9 May after officers attended reports of a disturbance at her address. She was placed in handcuffs and a spit hood was put over her head.

British police handcuff 90-year-old Black woman with dementia, put spit hood over her face
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Though the woman was not arrested, she was threatened with the use of a taser. Body-worn footage shows that the woman was distressed and confused, according to the IOPC.

IOPC Director Steve Noonan said: “We are concerned by some of the actions and decision-making of police officers involved in the detention of this elderly and vulnerable lady, and we recognise this incident has also caused community concern.

“It’s important that an independent investigation takes place to establish the full circumstances.

“We have been in regular contact with the lady’s family to update them on the investigation. Once it’s complete, we will decide whether to make a referral to the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision, and also whether any of the officers involved should face disciplinary proceedings.”

During the incident, officers approached the woman who spat in their direction.

Ambulance staff attended the address and the woman was taken to hospital, still in handcuffs and spit hood. These were later removed at hospital.

The six police officers have been advised they are under investigation for potential breaches of the standards of professional behaviour at the level of gross misconduct.

They also face a criminal investigation for alleged assault and false imprisonment, which relates to the alleged unlawful or reckless detention of the woman over a period of time.

The police watchdog’s investigation began following a conduct referral from the Met Police on 18 May.

The investigation will also examine a complaint that excessive and unreasonable force was used against the woman, resulting in her sustaining cuts and bruising to both her wrists and one arm, and an allegation that officers discriminated against the woman due to her race, gender, age and disability.

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