Hundreds join rapper Wretch 32 at protest against police use of Tasers

The peaceful event called for ‘justice’ for a list of people who have died after coming into contact with police.

Wretch 32
Wretch 32

Hundreds of people have gathered outside a north London police station to support rapper Wretch 32 – whose father was Tasered by police – and to protest against racism in the force.

The crowd gathered peacefully in scorching temperatures to hear speeches and demonstrate outside Tottenham Police Station.

It comes after the 35-year-old musician, whose real name is Jermaine Scott, posted a video on Twitter of his father Millard Scott, 62, falling downstairs after being Tasered by officers in north London in April.

The Metropolitan Police has said no further action will be taken over the incident.

Wretch 32 could be seen mingling in the crowd on Saturday, as protesters spoke of their own treatment at the hands of police.

The crowd called for officers to stop what they called the over-policing of black communities, along with the use of excessive force, Tasers, stop-and-search and the disproportionate use of handcuffing during arrest.

A list was pinned to a barrier outside the police station featuring the names of people – both black and white – who have died after coming into contact with police, dating back to the 1980s.

Banners called for “justice” for Cynthia Jarrett, Joy Gardner, Mark Duggan, Smiley Culture, Roger Sylvester, Ian Tomlinson and Jean Charles de Menezes.

Messages which read “The Met Police must cease and desist” and “Defund the police, invest in our lives” were pinned to a door at the police station.

Mina Agyepong, 42, told the crowd her 12-year-old son Kai “is traumatised and he is angry” after armed police raided her north London home late at night in July to arrest him.

He had been playing with a toy gun. Suspicions had been raised by a passer-by who said they saw a black male holding a firearm on the sofa.

She said: “I worry now what his relationship is going to be with the police – that sense of distrust. Stop criminalising our children.”

The 1985 Tottenham riots began when Broadwater Farm resident Ms Jarrett died of heart failure after four policemen burst into her home during a raid on October 5.

Winston Silcott
Winston Silcott, who was one of the Tottenham Three, was a steward at the rally (Helen William/PA)

Her son fought back tears as he told the crowd: “I get emotional when I think about my mother because I love her.

“We have all got to stick together and keep on marching. We have got to keep on protesting because this is for all of our kids and our future. They can tear down your family from top to bottom.”

Winston Silcott was one of the Tottenham Three, alongside Engin Raghip and Mark Braithwaite, convicted in 1987 of Pc Keith Blakelock’s murder during the riots.

Their convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal in 1991, after questions were raised about the way police interviews were carried out.

Mr Silcott helped steward Saturday’s demonstration.

Scotland Yard said officers had gone to the address of Wretch 32’s father in Tottenham on April 21 as part of an operation to tackle a drugs supply linked to serious violence in Haringey.

The police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), has said it will not investigate the incident and the matter should be dealt with within the Met Police.

Deputy Police Commissioner Sir Stephen House told a London Assembly Police and Crime Committee in July that the IOPC had decided “this matter should be returned to you, the Metropolitan Police, to be dealt with in a reasonable and proportionate matter”.

Police protest
Protester pinned up posters on the doors to the police station (Helen William/PA)

The Metropolitan Police had reviewed the incident at the time and said it had found no misconduct, but the IOPC called the matter in to make its own assessment.

The police said no further action is being taken as there is no public complaint and no indication of misconduct.

It added that should a public complaint be made or information provided about injuries, it would refer the matter again to the IOPC.

Treena Fleming, the Metropolitan Police commander of the North Area Command Unit, said: “I can understand why any use of Taser can look alarming, and why it did look alarming in this case.

“We never underestimate the impact such an incident can have on a family and the wider community.”

She said officers “are highly trained to engage, explain and try to resolve situations, using force only when absolutely necessary”.

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