Home London News Police reach settlement after ‘searching black man but not his white friend’

Police reach settlement after ‘searching black man but not his white friend’

Metropolitan Police

A black Londoner has been compensated after Met Police officers stopped and searched him but not his white friend. Tallan Bent, 36, was sitting on his bike while talking to a friend in a parked car in Lewisham in April 2020 when he was approached by two police officers after he was arrested, handcuffed, and searched.

Officers from the Met Police searched Mr Bent under the Misuse of Drugs Act because they thought he was dressed inappropriately for the season and riding a bike that was too small for him. Mr Bent accused Metropolitan Police officers of racial discrimination and settled out of court with the force.

Nothing unlawful was discovered on Mr Bent during the search, and the father-of-three lodged a complaint with the Independent Office for Police Conduct before launching legal action backed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Before going to court, the Met resolved the lawsuit and has not accepted liability.

In a statement issued through his solicitor Deighton Pierce Glynn, Mr Bent said: “I’m very disappointed with the way I was treated by the police. I find it hard to believe that the police are still targeting young black men.

“The only reason for this seems to be racial discrimination and it has to stop. I hope that by bringing my claim against the police I have shone a light on their failure to respect my rights and I want people who experience mistreatment by the police to know that they can make their voice heard.

“I find it shocking that the complaint took so long to resolve and I strongly believe the complaints process needs reform.”

The sum paid to Mr Brent has not been disclosed. According to a representative for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the commission will continue to examine police usage of stop and search.

“As Britain’s equality regulator, our legal support fund helps individuals to seek justice by covering the costs of legal action in race discrimination cases.

“The law is clear: no one should be subjected to harassment or discrimination due to their race or ethnicity, either at work or elsewhere. We have longstanding concerns about the disproportionate use of stop and search by the police. We will continue to monitor this.”

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