March 11, 2014

A man diagnosed with autism and learning difficulties was allegedly assaulted by police outside his home, on 20th February.

33 year old Faruk Ali has severe autism, but has always enjoyed helping the binmen by putting out the bins for them outside his family home in Luton.  On February 20th, he put on his slippers and went outside to do just that.  But this time he was met by two uniformed police officers who thought he ‘looked suspicious’.

Neighbours claim to have seen the officers push Faruk into the wheelie bins, pin him to the ground and chase him, screaming, into the house.  The family say they witnessed police punch Faruk once inside the house.

The Bedfordshire Police officers claimed they believed Faruk was committing a burglary at the time of the incident, despite the fact he was wearing slippers and a badge identifying him as autistic.

Faruk’s brother Dhobir told the Mirror:

“The family has been traumatised by the whole experience. Faruk hasn’t actually recovered yet, he’s still traumatised.

“He is scared to leave the house, he has become more anxious and agitated and he is terrified every time he sees the police.

“When he came in the house with the police behind him I saw the bruises and cuts and straight away knew what had happened to him.

“Why did the police use such force? They said he looked suspicious but he was wearing slippers at the time and he was wearing a big coat.

“The officers in question have not been suspended from duty and they did not report this incident to the office immediately after the event.

“We don’t really know if the police are taking it seriously or not. We want to see these officers suspended.

“The fact of the matter is my brother is not the only one who suffers from autism in Luton and we want to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Witness Musthafa Hussain claimed:
“They dragged him, they punched him, they held him hard. It was outrageous.”

The incident is being investigated by Bedforshire Police, and overseen by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) – but despite several witnesses, and the seriousness of the allegations, the officers involved have not been suspended while the investigation takes place.
The decision not to suspend the officers was met with anger. The Ali family held a public meeting in Luton this week, where it was revealed that Faruk had been a victim of a similar attack by police in 2012, and that the police officers involved in the February attack did not immediately report the incident to their superiors.

Local Police and Crime Commisioner Olly Martin’s attended the meeting and told local press that it had all the hallmarks of a hate crime:

“My agenda is about trying to get confidence to people to report hate crime.“When you have something like this, which on the face of it could be presented as a hate crime, it undermines the role I am trying to do in terms of improving the outcomes for victims and giving them the confidence to report in the first place.”

Bedfordshire Police said:

“Bedfordshire Police is sorry for the distress Mr Ali and his family feel regarding the actions officers took due to their concerns for Mr Ali’s wellbeing on February 20 in Whitby Road, Luton.”

A spokesman added: “This incident is being taken seriously and an investigation has been launched by the Beds, Cambs and Herts Professional Standards Department which will be supervised by the IPCC.”

After mass outcry, it was announced on Monday 10th March that the officers involved would be taken off public facing duties while the investigation takes place – while the disabled community were told to maintain their confidence in the police force.

But why on earth should disabled people have any faith in the police?

There have been more than 333 suspicious deaths in police custody since 1998…and zero officers convicted. Here are some of those who lost their lives, and whose families are still seeking justice.


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