The Metropolitan police has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct over an incident where an older black man was hospitalised after officers pulled over his vehicle in south London.
The 70-year-old driver was stopped by traffic officers in Bromley over a broken brake light on Monday afternoon.
The man allegedly struggled with an officer after getting out of his car, leaving the officer with an eye injury. He was arrested for assault but sustained a cut to his head while being detained, which left him bleeding. He was given first aid by the officers before being taken to hospital.
Images posted on Instagram by a woman who said the man was her father appeared to show him bleeding from a head wound on a hospital bed. Other pictures taken after the bandage was removed revealed a cut and a swollen eye.
The woman alleges that her father gestured to the officers to leave him alone when he exited his car and he was then assaulted.
The caption on the post, which has been liked more than 100,000 times and generated more than 5,000 comments, reads: “Today these police men beat up my dad in the Shortlands/Bromley area as they said he posed immediate threat towards them. This incident escalated because the police men pulled my dad due to one of his lights not working which he was not aware of.
“My dad is born-and-bred Jamaican whose accent is very strong and isn’t afraid to say what he feels about the @metpolice_uk and their corrupt racist system as my dad made hand gestures telling them to leave him alone they felt it was now their duty to physically abuse him.”
She alleges that her father suffered injuries including “a broken nose, broken cheek bone/eye socket and deep cuts to his head and other injuries”.
The post goes on: “My dad is 70 years old, no more than 8 stone, 5ft 6in, who has had multiple strokes, heart problems and is also on blood thinning tablets.”
The Met has been dogged by accusations of racial bias for years, from controversial measures like stop and search to a lack of candidates from BAME background. In 1999 the Macpherson report, conducted after the death of Stephen Lawrence, found the force to be “institutionally racist”. The current commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, has denied that that finding still applies.
The Met said in a statement: “We are aware of a post on Instagram relating to the arrest of a man following a vehicle stop on Blyth Road in Bromley. Shortly after midday on Monday, 13 September, officers on routine patrol stopped a vehicle with a broken brake light.
“After exiting the vehicle, the driver became involved in a struggle with an officer during which the officer sustained an injury to his eye. The driver, a 70-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker.
“He sustained a facial injury during the struggle and was given first aid by officers before being transported to a south London hospital. He was later discharged from hospital before being taken to a police station from where he was released under investigation.
“The incident has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.”