12:24, June 24 191 0 theguardian.com

2020-06-24 12:24:04
Man paralysed after being Tasered vows to get justice from Met

A young black man from Tottenham who has been left paralysed from the chest down after being Tasered by police as he jumped over a wall, has spoken out for the first time about his injuries and his determination to hold officers to account.

Jordan Walker-Brown, who turned 24 on Monday, said he had his back to police and was running away when he was Tasered on 4 May. He said he was running because he was carrying a small amount of cannabis for personal use, he said.

Walker-Brown, who before he was Tasered enjoyed playing football, was in good health and active, is now paraplegic. He believes he would not have been stopped had he not been black.

He said: “I have been told that I shall not be able to walk again because of what the police did to me. But I am determined to prove them wrong. Just as I am determined to prove that the police are not above the law.”

He said he was stopped by Metropolitan police officers from the Territorial Support Group (TSG) on two consecutive days last month, 3 May and 4 May. Both times he was carrying a small amount of cannabis for personal use. He knew police officers had the right to stop him if they believed him to be in possession of cannabis.

“However, I also know that I would not have been the subject of any police attention – on either day – if I had not been a young black man,” he said.

“I ran from police because I had a small amount of cannabis in my possession for personal use … and I had fresh in my mind the memory of a similar encounter with TSG officers only the previous day when I was arrested, mistreated and charged for possession of a similar amount of cannabis.

“I know from my own personal experience as a young black man that I always have to be very careful and very fearful of being alone with police officers in a police van.”

On 3 May Walker-Brown had been put into a TSG van, where he says he was mistreated, then held in a police cell for several hours and charged with possession of cannabis, before being released.

He said the following day he was in Burgoyne Road, Harringay, close to Tottenham, when TSG police again spotted and followed him. He said two officers got out of their van and he started to run away.

He was jumping over a wall, which was approximately 1.2 metres (4ft) high on one side but had a 1.8 metre (6ft) drop on the other, when it is thought two officers drew their Tasers and one discharged his. Walker-Brown fell over the wall. The cause of his injuries is being investigated. He was arrested for possession of cannabis with intent to supply and taken to hospital.

The incident is under investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct , and the police officer who discharged his Taser is subject to a criminal investigation for the alleged offence of causing grievous bodily harm. None of the nine officers present at the incident have been suspended; the policeman who discharged his Taser has been placed on restricted duties.

The IOPC investigation is understood to be examining the police use of force, their handling of Jordan-Brown after the Tasering, including consideration of a possible spinal injury, and whether his ethnicity influenced the decision to stop, pursue and Taser him.

Walker-Brown’s sister Sharn Brown, 28, told the Guardian: “The police appear to be trigger-happy with Tasers when it comes to black people. My brother is in hospital paralysed. Jordan has a family and I can promise the police his family will do whatever is necessary to ensure that he receives justice.”

Walker Brown’s solicitor Raju Bhatt, of Bhatt Murphy solicitors, said: “Jordan says he was slipping in and out of consciousness as he lay on the ground after his fall. He recalls that he felt a knee in his back, and his arms were then handcuffed behind his back before he was dragged to his feet, even though he was saying repeatedly that he couldn’t move his legs.”

According to Home Office figures police officers are almost eight times more likely to draw their Tasers against black people in England and Wales. Their general use rose by 39% last year.

Nearly 7,000 Met officers carry Taser stun guns. This is due to rise to 10,000 by 2022, just under a third of the force.

Topics