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Cycling campaigner ‘harassed and humiliated’ in drug search

'It seemed to me like a gross abuse of power by an officer who tried to show off to his colleagues'

24 November, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

THE founder of the Black Cyclists Network claims he was “harassed and humiliated” when he was stopped and searched by police who said they “smelled marijuana” on him.

Mani Arthur said he was waiting at traffic lights as officers crossed the road at the junction of Upper Woburn Place and Euston Road, King’s Cross, on Sunday afternoon.

Posting on Instagram, he said one told him to move back but he said he would be putting himself in danger by being in the blind spot of a small HGV. When the traffic signals changed and he began to cycle away he said he heard a call from an officer to turn back.

Mr Arthur said he was then searched as the officer claimed he could “smell cannabis” during the exchange.

His post added: “He searched me by the side of the road. Before the search, I asked him and his colleagues if they could smell cannabis on me. They said, ‘Yes’. After the search, they conveniently said they did not smell cannabis on me. I am very annoyed at having to go through such a degrading and humiliating experience. It seemed to me like a gross abuse of power by an officer who tried to show off to his colleagues and made up a reason as retribution for his failed attempt.”

A video of the search, filmed by two BCN members, circulated on social media this week, prompting senior officer Detective Superintendent Andy Cox from the Met’s Road and Transport Command to order a review of the interaction.

Det Supt Andy Cox said: “While no formal complaint has been received about the incident, we have spoken to the officer involved to establish the exact circumstances and so any learning identified can be implemented. We will also endeavour to make contact with the cyclist involved to get their views. Metropolitan Police officers carry out hundreds of interactions with people throughout London every day and we welcome the fact that their actions are scrutinised so, where appropriate, they can be held to account.”

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