British Cops Tase Man They Thought Was a Criminal, Turned Out To Be a Race Relations Adviser

A duo of Bristol, England, police officers were caught on tape tasing a 63-year-old Black man that turned out to be the department’s race relations adviser.

The victim and police watchdog, Judah Adunbi, was tasered by police Saturday, Jan. 21, in a case of mistaken identity. Avon and Somerset Constables on scene apparently thought the community activist looked similar to a wanted man police were actively searching for, reported The Guardian.

Footage captured by Adunbi’s neighbor, Tom Cherry, 39, shows officers trying to apprehend the man as he attempts to get into his home. Adunbi tried to walk over to his gate but the two cops encircled him demanding that he comply with their orders.

“I’ve asked you to remain calm,” an officer says.

“Your sergeant is going to taser me for whatever reason,” Adunbi replies in a thick Caribbean accent.

He raised his hands, but the female officer insisted that he was holding his keys in a threatening manner anyhow. Around the 1-minute mark, Cherry said that the man was a neighbor and that he posed no threat to officers. “He’s a lovely guy. I see him every day walking his dogs,” Cherry says.

As Adunbi and the two officers moved over to the gate, Cherry followed along. And then a scuffle between the three ensued. The victim yelled at officers demanding that they leave his yard. Then, the two officers pulled Adunbi outside of the gate, the female officer took out her taser and yelled “taser” three times as she tasered the man.

Viewers can hear Cherry tell police that he was “trying to get into [his] house” after the male officer claimed Adunbi was trying to fight them. Officers subdued the man and cuffed him despite his entreaties and pleas for them to look at his ID. For several minutes, Adunbi was on the ground before officers helped him up.

He was charged with assaulting a constable and displaying threatening or abusing behavior. However, since the controversy, the charges have been dropped.

Adunbi has spent nearly a decade creating a positive relationship between police and the Afro-Caribbean community in Bristol. The victim also was one of the founders of the police department’s Independent Advisory Group, a group aimed at creating better rapport between citizens and law enforcement, according to The Washington Post. During the time of Saturday’s arrest, the officers were not aware of that.

“To know that one of the [founding] members of the Independent Advisory Group, which was created some years ago to improve the relationship between the Afro-Caribbean community and the constabulary, and to be treated like this, it’s difficult,” Adunbi told The Guardian.

Unfortunately, Adunbi was involved in another case of mistaken identity in 2007 and compensated for the officers’ rush to judgment.

Chief Police Superintendent Jon Reilly of Avon and Somerset Constabulary said, “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.”

Reilly told media that the officers did have body cams at the time, but did not say if the footage would be made available to the public.

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