Independent investigation after officers 'pin down man having a seizure'

10 July 2019, 13:35 | Updated: 10 July 2019, 21:30

An independent investigation has been launched after three officers were filmed pinning down a man as he appeared to have a seizure.

The incident in Tower Hamlets, east London, on Tuesday afternoon - which was recorded and posted on social media - shows a man of Asian or Middle Eastern descent appearing to have spasms on the pavement as he is restrained.

He can be heard shouting "I can't breathe" and "my heart" during the footage, while a woman who is trying to break up the incident screams: "You're killing him."

Additional clips posted online show other officers arriving to try and stop members of the public from watching the drama unfold, with the man - who appears to suffer a bloody wound to his head - later ending up unconscious.

Police said the man, 38, was being arrested because his car was "obstructing the highway and other motorists" and he refused to move it or provide officers with his driving licence.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct said it had discussed the video footage with the force, and added: "Following discussions earlier today, we can confirm we've received a referral from the Met Police relating to yesterday's incident in Abbott Road, Poplar.

"We've started an independent investigation which will look at all the circumstances of the stop and arrest."

Police said in a statement they are aware of the footage and that the incident has been referred to a professional standards unit.

Metropolitan Police Commander Mark McEwan said that the man was asked five times to move his care, before officers attempted to arrest him.

"It was obstructing the highway in a way that caused a danger to other motorists having to swerve around it onto the wrong side of the road.

"Even those with a disabled badge cause an offence if they obstruct the highway.

"We have today reviewed Body Worn Video, recorded as standard practice by officers at the scene.

"The footage shows the man is asked multiple times to either produce his driving licence or move his vehicle and does not do so."

He adds: "During the incident he became unwell - officers immediately assisted and called an ambulance," he said.

"The man was taken to hospital for treatment as a precaution, and is now in custody at an east London police station.

"Two officers suffered minor injuries.

"I understand how concerning this incident may have looked to those at the scene or people who have viewed social media footage since and it is only right we look in detail at the circumstances of what happened yesterday to ensure confidence in how we police London."

The man remains in custody at an east London police station on suspicion of obstruction of the highway, assaulting police and resisting arrest.