Police accused of ‘slamming’ Hatfield man into the ground in fruitless stop and search

PUBLISHED: 17:09 05 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:49 07 December 2018

A man was stopped and searched in Hatfield town centre yesterday. Picture: Google Streetview

A man was stopped and searched in Hatfield town centre yesterday. Picture: Google Streetview

Google Streetview

Hatfield residents say they were shocked to watch a group of police officers forcefully stop and search a young man.

Witnesses have told the Welwyn Hatfield Times how they saw a group of police forcefully apprehend a young man yesterday at around 2pm near Queensway House.

The young white man, described as slim and tidily dressed, was walking with three female friends.

“Eight individuals jumped on this man, got hold of him, threw his bike across the walkway, slammed him into the ground and kicked him,” said one witness, who has lodged a complaint with the police about the incident.

“He was struggling and screaming.

“He was thrown to the ground again, and with great force.

“They then dragged him into the toilets and searched him.”

The witness was given to understand that police believed the man had drugs and a knife on him.

However, a police spokesperson confirmed today that nothing was found on him.

Several Hatfield residents watched events unfold in disbelief.

According to witness, the young man had resisted the police’s actions out of panic.

“They took him to a point where they could justify force,” believes the witness, who watched from about 10 feet away before going over.

“I got close enough to attract his attention and I said, ‘calm down, you’re playing into their hands’.

“I had to intervene as a responsible citizen.

“I said [to a policeman] ‘you’ve done this all wrong, haven’t you’.

“He told me to eff off.”

Another witness, Helen Simons, also said she intended to lodge a complaint with police.

“When we told them to stop, they grinned at us,” she said.

The first witness described it as “a most appalling, appalling attack”.

The first witness, who is 70, believes the stop and search was far more violent than warranted.

“If they had done that to me, I wouldn’t have survived an attack like that.

“They left him in a complete heap.”

He understood from the young man afterwards that his side hurt and that he had bruised ribs.

“He was shaking and shivering,” said the witness.

Helen said: “It’s absolutely disgraceful what they did.

“Before they even searched him they beat him.

“The fact that they were grinning and they treated it like it was OK to punch him ... it’s ridiculous.

“When they walked away, they laughed.

“I understand they have to do their job, but this was ridiculous.

“I have never seen anything like that in my life.”

A Herts Police spokesperson said: “We have been contacted by two members of the public who have raised concerns about a stop and search that was carried out in Hatfield town centre yesterday.

“The stop and search took place at 2pm near to the public toilets.

“We are currently looking into the matter.”

The spokesperson offered no further comment on the incident while they look into it.

•Are you the young man who was stopped by police? Did you see the incident?

Get in touch at news@whtimes.co.uk or call 01707 371413.

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