Council leader says Tasering of man that left him paralysed ‘should never have happened’

Jordan Walker-Brown  (PA)
Jordan Walker-Brown (PA)

The leader of Haringey Council has said the Tasering of a man which left him paralysed “never should have happened” and incidents like it are why “confidence in the police is so low”.

Metropolitan Police Pc Imran Mahmood, 36, tasered Jordan Walker-Brown during a patrol in Finsbury Park in May 2020, and on Thursday was cleared of unlawfully inflicting grievous bodily harm on him following a trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Mr Walker-Brown, who was 23 at the time, was left with “catastrophic” injuries after hitting his head on the pavement and breaking his back.

He had not pulled out a weapon and presented no “physical threat” to anyone at the time he was tasered, prosecutors had told the court.

Mr Walker-Brown appeared outside court on Thursday in a wheelchair.

In response to the not guilty verdict, Haringey Council leader Peray Ahmet said the case highlights the “dangers that Tasers pose and raises questions about the Met’s plans for rolling out more” to frontline officers.

Ms Ahmet said people of colour are disproportionately likely to be victims of Tasering, as she called for “root and branch” reform within the Met.

Ms Ahmet said: “We remain convinced that this incident should never have happened, and that action and leadership are needed from the police to ensure that no young person in Haringey has to experience what Jordan went through.

“Incidents such as this are one of the reasons why confidence in the police is so low among our residents, especially members of our Black communities who disproportionately experience heavy-handed police tactics.”

Councillor Ahmet said the borough needs a police service which residents and the council “can be confident to work with”.

“In March we called on the Met to implement in full the findings of Baroness Casey’s review, and we reiterate this call today. We will continue to engage with the police and challenge them to prevent incidents like this from happening in future.

“It remains clear that we need root and branch reform of the Metropolitan Police Service to ensure that it employs officers of integrity who care about and are rooted in the communities they serve, and that the right processes are in place to ensure that force is only used when necessary to protect others from harm.

“We will continue to engage with police leadership on this issue to protect the safety of our residents, especially people of colour who are disproportionately likely to be victims of tasering.”

Jordan Walker-Brown with supporters outside court (PA)
Jordan Walker-Brown with supporters outside court (PA)

Detective Chief Superintendent Caroline Haines, who is responsible for policing in Enfield and Haringey, said: “My thoughts today are with Mr Walker-Brown and his family whose lives have been changed forever.

“I don’t underestimate the effect this incident will have had on them and have offered to meet with them when appropriate to listen to their concerns and discuss the matter in further detail. It is always a matter of deep regret when an individual comes to harm following contact with police and officers know that in such circumstances their actions will be subject to the highest scrutiny.

“I am also very aware of the significant impact this incident has had on the wider community. We know that today’s outcome may reignite those feelings, which is why we have been working closely with key members of the community and partner agencies across the borough to listen to concerns and build on our existing relationships with all communities.

“We are aware that police use of Taser is seen by some as a controversial tactic, and incidents like this raise very legitimate concerns about its use. We are concerned too, and want to improve how we engage with our communities around this issue, by encouraging a two-way dialogue and having those we serve more involved in monitoring how we use the tactic.

“We do believe that it remains a vital tool, but will continue to keep its use under constant review and regularly train our officers to ensure they use the tactic appropriately.”

PC Mahmood has been on restricted duties since the incident. Now that criminal matters have concluded, misconduct proceedings may follow.

Baroness Casey’s peport into standards within the Metropolitan Police revealed that the force has been riddled with bullying, poor leadership and the “rotten” treatment of Black people.

Baroness Dame Louise Casey said that the protection of women had been “thrown out of the window” and called the Met institutionally sexist, racist and homophobic.

The Baroness had been appointed to lead the independent review following the murder of Sarah Everard in 2021.

It was reported in 2019 that the Met had widely rolled out the use of Tasers among some 10,000 officers.