A Black man in London was stopped by British police for walking in the Croydon district while wearing a heavier coat in “hot” weather. Ostensibly stopped for what he was wearing, he believed he was profiled as a drug dealer.
On Wednesday, March 23, law enforcement stopped Eric Boateng-Taylor, 20, in Dagnall Park at 4:47 p.m. for dressing inappropriately for the weather.
Boateng-Taylor reports that one of two officers from the Metropolitan Police told him the area was “well known for drug dealing,” before searching him under the Misuse of Drugs Act and questioning why he was “wearing several layers of clothing despite the warm weather.”
The video was shared by the young man on TikTok and received almost 1 million looks on his profile in less than a week.
Boateng-Taylor, who also goes by Carter Jr, is a local entrepreneur who runs a car-washing business and a beverage stand in Selhurst Sports Arena.
Boateng-Taylor was on his way to work after returning from buying toilet paper from the store when the officers impeded his progress.
The 20-year-old recorded the altercation on his phone, capturing one officer saying, “I’m just wondering what you’re wearing.”
One male officer explains “sometimes people are trying to hide things they wear baggy clothes and cover up.”
He tells the surrounding officers if they were interested in purchasing him a new one he will give them the one he has on, and the female officer answers, “We don’t want your coat, we are asking why you are wearing it. You’re not dressed for the warm weather.”
The back-and-forth continues, with Boateng-Taylor saying that he can wear whatever he wants to wear, while she repeats, “You’re not dressed for the climate, it’s very warm, it’s hot.”
He barks in the video, “What you mean the climate?”
The officer turns to a colleague and says, “It just seems odd,” before the female officer knocks the phone out of his hand.
ITV News London reports Boateng-Taylor wants the officers to issue him an official apology and for the force to better train its officers. He says during the interaction, the two were “giggling like kids” and initially would not tell him their names and ID numbers for him to make a report.
“The evidence is right there in the video,” he said, talking about the video he posted on social media that has since gone viral.
“It will be played over in court and we will see if they have the same humor when they get punished,” he says about the racial profiling. “This incident messed up my whole evening – that’s what they don’t see.”
“They put me in handcuffs and were searching me,” he said, adding the officers made him feel “violated.”
According to a report from the police, Boateng-Taylor did not have any narcotics on him.
Regardless of what Boateng-Taylor says and what his video shows, Detective Chief Superintendent Lee Hill of the violent crime task force says he is standing by his officers, noting this is not everything that happened.
He said, “We are aware of footage circulating on social media; this shows only a small part of this incident and we would ask people not to rush to judgment.”
“In this instance, a formal complaint has been received and is being handled in accordance with the Police Reform Act,” he continued. “This will include a review of all the available footage, including the officer’s body-worn video.”
“Our officers have to conduct themselves in the most challenging of circumstances and it is right their actions should be subject to public scrutiny.”
Boateng-Taylor says the ordeal, which is still under review by officials, makes him feel like he is “a stranger” in his own country.