An Instagram influencer in England has accused police of wrongfully arresting her and her black boyfriend despite the fact that the suspects they were after looked nothing like them.
Fashion blogger Kaana Grace posted video to her Instagram on Saturday, Oct. 3, that showed her boyfriend being held to the ground by numerous police officers in Loughton High Road in Essex, a suburb of London. Bystanders appeared to be defending the man as he declared his innocence to the officers. She said on camera that police were going after a suspected stolen car before turning their attention on the pair as they stood on a sidewalk, even though the suspects were a white man and a brunette white woman who were in the pursued vehicle.
Kaana, who is blond, wrote in a lengthy caption, “Today me and my boyfriend had just stepped out of the house to go to the shop. We saw a black car speeding down the high road with police and vans chasing the vehicle. It could’ve killed people. It was swerving busy traffic and even I had to run across the road as they nearly drove over me and my boyfriend on the pavement.
“All of a sudden two police cars had unexpectedly pulled up and they hopped out and grabbed my and my boyfriend and spraying us with pepper spray and arrested us without telling us why. Later on they told us we were arrested for suspicion of a stolen vehicle, even though he was among a crowd watching the craziness.”
Kaana alleged in the caption that the police told them they fit the profile of the suspects, though she claims they were “mistaken identities.”
“How could we have stolen the vehicle if it was STILL being chased actively by police with the criminals inside and we were just standing near a flower shop?” she wrote. “They later de-arrested us and just left saying they got the wrong people.”
She added that the couple was “ashamed and upset” that they had to go through the experience, and said she and her boyfriend did not resist arrest in spite of being innocent.
The video has been viewed over 300,000 times, with many of Kaana’s 60,000 followers voicing support and vowing to stand with her in solidarity against the officers.
Essex Police released a statement: “At about 1.40pm on Saturday afternoon a man was detained by police officers in Loughton because his clothing matched the description of that worn by the driver of a suspected cloned car who moments earlier had run off from the vehicle, having failed to stop for police. Based on this description of his clothing officers asked to speak to the man. He pulled away from officers despite being asked to stand still and remain calm. The officers suspected he was seeking to escape so he was physically restrained,” they said.
They continued by stating that they checked to see if Kaana’s boyfriend was in any way connected to the suspicious car, and let him go minutes later. The police added that they have contacted him to check on his welfare.
Essex Police said the suspect connected to the suspicious car was arrested. They announced that “the circumstances surrounding the detention of the first man, including the use of handcuffs and incapacitant spray, are now subject of an ongoing investigation. Essex Police has made a voluntary referral to the Independent Office of Police Conduct in relation this.”
Essex Police said there is more to the incident than what is being shown on video shared around social media.