A Metropolitan Police officer is under criminal investigation for alleged racially aggravated assault and false imprisonment after a black woman was wrongly arrested for fare evasion in front of her young son in Croydon in July this year.
The officer is also being investigated for possible breaches of the police standards of professional conduct at the level of gross misconduct, a report released by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) confirmed.
A video of the distressed woman and her tearful son went viral at the time of the incident.
According to the Met Police, the woman was arrested on suspicion of fare evasion and was handcuffed.
When officers were able to take her ticket from her so that the TfL inspectors could check it, they were able to confirm it was valid. She was immediately de-arrested and her handcuffs were removed.
IOPC regional director Mel Palmer said: “The decision to conduct a criminal investigation is not something we take lightly and was made after careful consideration of the material we have gathered to date, including liaison with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
“It’s important to emphasise that this development does not necessarily mean that criminal charges or disciplinary proceedings will follow.
“At the conclusion of the investigation, we will decide whether to refer a file of evidence to the CPS for a charging decision and also decide whether any officers should face disciplinary proceedings.
“Representatives for the woman and the officer have been advised of this update and we will keep them informed throughout our investigation.”
Chief Superintendent Andy Brittain, responsible for policing in Croydon, said: “We are co-operating fully with the investigation and are aware of today’s update from the IOPC.
“It is important the incident is thoroughly investigated to understand what happened. As the IOPC has stated, the launching of a criminal or misconduct investigation is not in itself a finding of wrongdoing and we await its conclusions after all the available evidence has been gathered and fully examined.”
The police officer being investigated will remain on restricted duties while the investigation is carried out.