UK police who fired Taser at their black race relations adviser face investigation | News | DW | 20.01.2017
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UK police who fired Taser at their black race relations adviser face investigation

Bristol police used the stun gun after mistaking the man for a wanted criminal suspect. Video footage showed him refusing to give his name to police outside his home.

British police who fired a stun gun at their own local black race relations adviser after mistaking him for a wanted suspect will face investigation, Britain's police watchdog announced on Friday.

Police shot 63-year-old Judah Adunbi with a Taser outside his Bristol home on Saturday January 14.  Adunbi helped found an independent advisory group that works with Avon and Somerset Police in western England to improve relations with the local black community.

Various British media outlets posted a passerby's video of the incident that showed two officers telling Adunbi they believed he was a wanted criminal. The video appears to show him refusing to give his name. 

"I've done no wrong," he said in the video. The video then showed a brief scuffle and one officer shooting him with a stun gun.

"The way I fell backward on the back of my head. I was just paralyzed. I thought that was it. I thought they were taking my life," Adunbi told ITV News.

The video showed police accusing Adunbi of attempting to fight them.

Police complaints commission

The police department involved said it had referred the incident to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

"I've met with Mr Adunbi and we had a constructive conversation," Chief Superintendent Jon Reilly said in a statement.

"We're aware of concerns within the local community and we take these concerns very seriously. We would like to answer their questions, but we need to be mindful that an investigation is ongoing which makes that difficult."

The gated entrance and garages on King Street, Easton, Bristol, where community race relations champion, Judah Adunbi was hit with a stun gun by police (picture-alliance/empics/B. Birchall)

Judah Adunbi was shot with a Taser outside his Bristol home

The police department's website wrote that "[Independent advisory groups] have a vital role in helping us build trust, confidence and better relationships, especially with our diverse communities."

IPCC investigators said they would review footage from security cameras and body cameras worn by the officers involved.

"We would like to reassure the community that we will conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances of this incident and whether the use of Taser by officers was appropriate in these circumstances," IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts said in a statement.

aw/jm (Reuters)