A FORMAL complaint has been made to the independent police watchdog against ALL West Midlands officers seen in an internet video in which one told a black man amid laughter, “You would be the first one I’d shoot if I had a gun,” we can reveal.
Details have emerged of a second, and broader, complaint to the force by a civil rights organisation which was then referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
We last week exclusively revealed the IPCC had initially decided NOT to carry out an investigation, but had confirmed to us it would do so after all, following receipt of a second complaint.
The IPCC had initially referred the matter back to West Midlands Police for an internal assessment only following a first formal complaint. The officer rather than being suspended is still working for the force away from the frontline.
It was despite the damning evidence from the video causing a public outcry and hitting the national and international headlines.
Now Desmond Jaddoo, founder and organiser of the Birmingham Enpowerment Forum, has told the Observer in response to our exclusive last week that he and colleague Charlie Williams had filed a second complaint to the IPCC, after an initial complaint from the girlfriend of the black man in question, Jack Chambers, aged 24.
He told us: “There is now going to be a full independent IPCC investigation. The IPCC had done an initial assessment and had sent it back to West Midlands Police’s Professional Standards Department for investigation.
“I got involved with Jack Chambers and I re-assessed the circumstances. The officer made a statement which is totally unacceptable for any officer, while the other officers were laughing, which only compounded the issues that Jack faced.
“There was also a sergeant present. He showed a lack of leadership and should have pulled the officer up straight away.
“So on Jack’s behalf, we submitted another complaint against all the officers present. They should have pulled him up or gone back to the station and reported it.
“They failed the people in that building, their colleagues and the West Midlands public.
“I now welcome the fact the IPCC have confirmed that this is their investigation and it will be conducted independently.
“They will bring zero-tolerance to this type of behaviour. We’re in 2017, not 1970.”
Asked to comment on the IPCC’s initial decision not to investigate after the first complaint, given the evidence in the public domain, he said: “I was concerned. That’s why we had to revisit it.
“We decided when we examined the footage again that it was not a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ comment, and no officer said, ‘what are we doing’?”
As we reported last week, this newspaper put a series of questions to West Midlands Police concerning why the officer was still working for the force.
West Midlands Police three weeks ago issued a statement saying the “apologetic” officer had been “removed from front-line duties” pending investigation.
In the video filmed by Mr Chambers, the officer is also heard to say during an exchange in a Coventry home: “You’re going to go Black Lives Matter on us, are ya?” His patrol team is seen smiling and laughing.
In the video, Mr Chambers, sitting on a sofa with his partner, is heard to accuse the police of “climbing up the window like thieves” after they asked why no-one had opened the door to his friend’s house, where he was staying.
As we reported last week, a spokesman for the IPCC said: “A second complaint about this incident from another individual was referred to us by the force with new information.
“Following an assessment of that it was decided yesterday (Tuesday, September 26) that we should carry out an independent investigation.”
Asked to comment on Mr Jaddoo’s complaint, an IPCC spokesperson confirmed: “We received a second referral on this matter after a complaint was brought forward on behalf of a third party by Mr Jaddoo.
“This concerned allegations against a police officer who made comments in a video posted on social media, and against other officers present at the time.
“The decision to independently investigate was made on September 26 and therefore our enquiries are still at an early stage.”