A Met commander defended his police officers after it was revealed that they had arrested a 12-year-old boy playing with a toy gun and believed it to be real.
A team of tracking dog officers stormed Kai Agyepong’s house in Camden, North London, on the evening of July 17 after a call from a member of the public claiming to have seen a black man with a firearm.
In reality, it was a BB pellet gun equipped with a blue slide to set it apart from the real thing.
Kai’s mother Alice criticized the police, saying that the incident made her family feel “completely violated.”
Ms. Agyepong, who also has two daughters aged 16 and 23, who lived at home, told the PA news agency: “In my mind, there was no doubt that they would shoot us.
“Their guns were drawn so that they aimed their guns at me and my children.”
It was very, very humiliating but more than that, it was terrifying for me and my childrenAlice Agyepong
She said the Met had thrown “all means except a helicopter” at the incident, adding that in addition to the armed officers and the dog unit, there were two regular PC vans and an ambulance.
Even after she was shown the BB gun, the police still conducted a full-hour search.
Ms. Agyepong said her son was “undoubtedly” racially profiled.
She said the Met had explained the incident, saying that older gang members often leave knives and firearms with younger boys in the hope that they will be discovered less quickly.
Commander Kyle Gordon, leader of the Met for firearms, said, “There have been a number of well-publicized shootings in London in recent months that have injured members of the public.
“As the public would rightly expect, we take every firearm report seriously to protect our communities.
Officers attending such reports should treat them as real until they can verify whether or not a real firearm is present.
“Based on the information available, the agents acted in accordance with their training and my expectations, enabling the incident to be closed as quickly and safely as possible.”
Commander Gordon said that he had seen the body-worn video of the incident and said he was “satisfied” with the officers’ professionalism and how they explained to the residents what was going on.
“The reporting member of the public rightly called us and we would encourage others who see similar weapons to do the same,” he said.
“We are committed to reducing violence and rely on our communities to help us do it.”
He added that Kai was immediately arrested as soon as the officers identified the only weapon in the house, the BB rifle.
Ms. Agyepong said that the incident had left Kai traumatized and anxious if she even left him to go to the shops.
“It was very, very humiliating, but even more so, it was terrifying for me and my children.”