A 15-year-old boy was left with severe facial injuries and bruising to the brain during his arrest by London’s Metropolitan Police. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating following outcry on social media.
Police were responding to a robbery in Bermondsey at around 9pm local time on Tuesday. Met police said a female victim had informed officers that her mobile phone had been stolen by a youth who fled on a bicycle. Police located Terrell Decosta Jones-Burton on his bike nearby.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident to come forward.
“While being detained, the male came off his bicycle and was taken by the London Ambulance Service to a south London hospital, where he remains in a stable condition with facial injuries,” an IPCC spokesperson said. “[The Met Police Service] made a mandatory referral to the IPCC, which is now investigating the incident.”
Jones-Burton’s mother Shereen Jones said her son had been left with multiple injuries, including a split lip, lost teeth, broken jawbone, bruising on the brain, and pain in his abdomen.
“Was all of this necessary over a phone?” she wrote on Facebook. “Police brutality on young black boys has to stop. He has no criminal record and no involvement with the police.”
Jones said her son was heading home when he was stopped by police. She insisted he is not a “thug.” The boy’s mother shared her grief on social media, using the hashtag #JusticeForTerrell. Posts about the 15-year-old south Londoner have been shared hundreds of times.
Rapper NoLay has weighed in, advising any of her fans who have encounters with police to video or live stream their interactions as evidence. Giggs, another London rapper, also commented on the incident through his Instagram account. “Imagine u get the phone call that your child is in this condition? [sic]” he said.
The Metropolitan Police have released a statement in relation to the incident, stressing that the boy had not been assaulted by officers but had fallen off his bike.
“While being detained, the male came off his bicycle and was taken by the London Ambulance Service to a south London hospital where he remains in a stable condition with facial injuries,” a Met spokesperson said.