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Crowd yelled at 'disgraceful' officers as police pinned down teenager in Chatham High Street

Witnesses have accused police of heavy-handedness during the arrest of a 17-year-old boy.

Police said officers were assaulted as they attempted to arrest a teenager for illegally riding an e-scooter in Chatham High Street.

Police rushing to the scene

Video footage showed police vehicles pulling into the high street and officers running to the scene on foot, as colleagues scrambled to help the arresting officers last Wednesday.

But since then a number of people who witnessed the incident have accused police of using excessive aggression against the suspect.

Commenting on Facebook, Jayne Clayton said she had seen the incident and that a male and female officer had seemed "a bit heavy handed", but another witness, Chloe, went further in stating: "heavy handed isn’t the word. They were awful towards that young boy.

She added: "I really hope he’s okay and it gets taken further. There was no need for the way he was treated at all. Everyone who videoed it should post all the videos showing everyone what the police are actually like.

"I was here watching this with tonnes of others. The officer had his elbow in the young boys throat and the young boy couldn’t even breathe. He was politely telling them to get off his neck crying out for help and they still didn’t listen and threw the boy to the ground twice.

Officers running to the scene in Chatham High Street
Officers running to the scene in Chatham High Street

"The way these officers acted today was disgraceful. Eight cars full of officers for one young 17-year-old boy who is autistic. Absolutely disgusting.

"There was about 50 of us all shouting at the officers telling them to get off the poor boy's throat. He couldn’t breathe, yet he still carried on putting his elbow in his throat whilst throwing him to the ground. Makes me absolutely sick."

Gemma Tolley also said she had witnessed the arrest.

Police responding to an incident in Chatham High Street
Police responding to an incident in Chatham High Street

She said: "Me and my family were there today, and after they took the boy I went to the police station and made a formal complaint against them.

"What shocked me was everyone saw it and were shouting at the police to stop…But yet I was the only one at the police station making a formal complaint.

"Everyone needs to do this so that we can get this investigated properly.

She added: "The police need further training on how to deal with children/young adults with autism, and learn from what happened today."

Rebecca Elliott added: "I have reported this as I got the officer's badge number. The poor boy couldn't move he was already in handcuffs.. There was no need for that police officer to do that to his throat."

Police respond to an incident in Chatham High Street
Police respond to an incident in Chatham High Street

However, some supported the police action.

Tommy Harris, who didn't claim to witness the incident, commented: "The police did their job. If he wasn't struggling then force wouldn't of been used."

Tina Richardson added: "I saw this this morning. The trouble is he was riding in a busy walk way. If a child or person had been hit and badly hurt then comments would be different. I have no problem with these scooters but they need to be ridden responsibly and not in a busy pedestrian area."

Following the accusations, Kent Police released a statement from district commander for Medway, Chief Inspector Shona Lowndes.

She said: "On Wednesday, June 22 officers on patrol in Chatham High Street attempted to seize an e-scooter being ridden illegally by a teenage boy and during this incident one female police officer was assaulted.

Police respond to an incident in Chatham High Street
Police respond to an incident in Chatham High Street

"Officers were aware there was a large crowd forming, and in order to prevent injury to members of the public and to assist with safely detaining the suspect, further patrols were dispatched to the scene.

"When these officers arrived the suspect assaulted a second female officer and was arrested.

"The officers at the scene used Home Office approved techniques to ensure the suspect was safely detained.

"During the first year of policing all officers undertake a robust safety training programme which consists of classroom learning, practical assessments and examinations.

"Upon completing this training officers are then required to carry out yearly safety training to ensure they continue to use their techniques safely and correctly. They are required to pass examinations as part of this yearly review."

Kent Police also said it had received no complaints about the incident.

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