The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has called for calm after a video compilation circulating on social media infers that one of the stills included shows a man having his turban forcibly removed and stamped on in Perry Barr custody suite on Monday evening.
Police said that the video’s author had used an image from elsewhere, giving what it called an ‘entirely misleading version of the events.’
It added that the CCTV used in the video is not connected to the incident.
The suspect – from the local Sikh community – was brought to the custody suite for ‘minor traffic offences’.
He has since been charged with obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty and two counts of driving a vehicle when the VRM fails to conform with regulations.
He has been released on bail to appear at Birmingham Magistrates Court on November 25.
A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said:
‘We can confirm that a man in custody was asked to remove his patka to be searched.
‘It was removed by an officer in a private room to search for anything that could be harmful to the man or our custody officers.
‘The head covering fell to the floor at one point, but was immediately retrieved and at no point was it stamped on.
‘We have received a complaint and therefore we cannot go into further details while these enquiries are progressing.
‘We understand the religious significance of head coverings to the Sikh faith and we know this incident has caused outrage and anger to the Sikh community and the wider public but we must stress that social media speculation based on supposition is unhelpful and inflammatory.’
IOPC Regional Director Derrick Campbell said:
‘This incident has caused understandable unrest within the local community, and I want to reassure everyone that this will be thoroughly and independently investigated.
‘We are now in possession of all the CCTV footage from the custody suite, which I have viewed myself.
‘Our investigation will look at the actions of police during the incident to determine the facts.
‘What I can say with absolute certainty at this stage, in direct response to questions I have received from members of the local community, is that the head covering was not stamped on at any stage.
‘A false video shared on social media has caused significant concern for many and I am appealing for calm while this is investigated.
‘Rest assured we will be working hard to ensure the facts of what happened are brought to light and this matter is dealt with appropriately.”
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