‘Why was I cuffed and threatened with pepper spray over parking ticket row?'

Dre Wilkins has filed a complaint over how he was arrested in Roderick Road

Friday, 20th May — By Harry Taylor

Dre Wilkins

SCOTLAND Yard has opened an investigation after a Gospel Oak man said he was aggressively arrested by police over a dispute with a traffic warden.

Dre Wilkins had police called on him by parking attendants outside his house in Roderick Road on May 10, after he believed they had wrongly given a ticket and had asked which warden had issued it.

He had repeatedly asked who it was and said a warden walked into him while he stood his ground – before they called the Met.

After officers arrived, he was put in handcuffs for 10 to 15 minutes, and said he had his thumb twisted.

Mr Wilkins said he feared his shoulder was going to be dislocated due to the pressure put on it and when he spoke to the New Journal on Tuesday, bruises could still be seen on his wrists.

Less than an hour later police left the scene without any further action being taken or any apologies.

The Met’s Professional Standards Unit is now investigating after he has complained about his treatment.

The 30-year-old maintenance engineer said he was left hyperventilating after the incident.

“The adrenaline wore off and the shaking began. I was having this panic attack and my neighbour Anna literally had to talk me through how to breathe,” he said.

“I had begged them, three times, to loosen the cuffs and eventually they did. But by then they had been pushing my shoulder, pushing my hand against my forearm, twisting my finger.”

Mr Wilkins added: “There wasn’t really a lot going on in my mind, I just wanted not to die. I wanted to stand up for myself, I knew they were abusing their power and I knew he was unlawfully arresting me.

“So I didn’t want to be ‘here you go’, I wanted them to tell me why they were arresting me.”

Four officers arrived in two cars, minutes after being called on the Tuesday afternoon. In footage recorded by a neighbour, an officer can be seen accusing Mr Wilkins of being “aggressive”.

He can be heard telling the same officer “off you go” to get a statement and details from the traffic warden. At this point he has handcuffs put on him and officers push him against a wall, saying they suspect him of assault.

According to the video, they threaten to pepper spray him, and another officer can be heard shouting “stop resisting” to which Mr Wilkins replies that he isn’t.

The same officer says that he has been arrested, and reads him his rights. Neighbours then come out to intervene, with officers telling them to back off.

Mr Wilkins ,who moved to the UK from Jamaica aged eight, said: “At the time I didn’t think it was to do with race. I don’t put that into any equation generally, and I didn’t think of it that way, I just thought it was the police. “That’s actually the problem, because in hindsight it’s just what you expect as a minority. It’s the norm.”

He added: “It’s happened to me many times before. I was even stopped walking home in my school uniform before. I spoke to my friends afterwards and they have faced the same thing.”

As well as complaining to the Met, Mr Wilkins is writing to Holborn and St Pancras MP Sir Keir Starmer about his treatment. He said he wants officers to face disciplinary action.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said they were aware of the footage and that it “only shows a small part of the incident”. They said no actions have been taken against officers.

They said: “After speaking to all parties involved, including the parking enforcement officer who had contacted police, a decision was taken to de-arrest the man and there will be no further police action in relation to this aspect.

“At this time, no officers have been subjected to any restrictions.”

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