An MP has denounced the police force’s choice to stop and search two black males in Liverpool with guns drawn.
Social media users have posted videos of police halting the guys in Toxteth, raising questions over whether the action was “proportionate or required.”
Kim Johnson, a Liverpool Riverside MP, asserted that she thought Merseyside Police were “institutionally racist.”
The search, according to the force, was “reasonable and suitable” and followed protocol.
The two guys were stopped on the street on Monday, and the video showed armed cops brandishing pistols at them.
Just after 21:15 BST, a complaint of a man with a pistol near the intersection of Princes Road and North Hill Street was received, according to Merseyside Police.
The man allegedly hid the pistol in his waistband, according to the police.
Two guys were later seen on adjacent Mulgrave Street, and one of them, according to a spokeswoman, matched the description in terms of appearance and attire.
Because of the guns report, he said, handcuffs were utilized during the search; however, nothing was discovered on either man, so no further action was taken.
The disproportionate number of black persons being stopped by police in Liverpool, according to Ms. Johnson, is “still an issue,” and she plans to raise it with the force.
She told BBC North West Tonight, “I do think Merseyside Police is institutionally racist.
“It’s about the organization’s culture, and the organization’s culture needs to change. It’s not just about the one or two rotten apples.
“I realize [Merseyside Police] have a job to do, but it needs to be appropriate,” the speaker said.
Granby Somali Women’s Group posted the video to Twitter and said that “two unarmed black youths” had been “traumatized by armed Merseyside Police stopping them with weapons.”
The nonprofit organization said that cops had “rough handled” the guys and warned that their “violent behavior” may “scar young black boys.”
A spokesman for the organisation said, “This is not a rare event, since Merseyside Police are driving about stopping people like it’s the Wild West in the L8 area.
Such occurrences “scar young black boys, which results in a poor, antagonistic relationship with the police,” she continued.
It “not only makes community policing difficult, but [breaks] the faith that should be placed in a public-serving authority, which should serve the needs of everyone, not just the few,” she claimed.
Merseyside Police Supt. Diane Pownall issued a statement in which she claimed that while she recognized that the film would appear “very threatening,” the force’s “first concern” was the public’s safety.
The stop search, she claimed, was lawful and acceptable given the information obtained from the member of the public after footage from police body-worn cameras had been reviewed.
She continued by saying that she had spoken to Ms. Johnson and the neighborhood councillors about their worries and had asked them to a meeting to go through what had transpired.