Former PC detained schoolboy because he was “a bit cocky”Matthew Nastri was found to have committed gross misconduct at a hearing last week
A black teenager who was punched by a police officer in Tottenham was detained because he was “a bit cocky,” a hearing has found. Footage from the incident went viral in 2020, leading to a Black Lives Matter protest in the area.
Now, it has emerged that former PC Matthew Nastri – who was not the police officer that punched the boy – committed gross misconduct for detaining him without reasonable grounds.
On 8th December 2020, Nastri and several other officers approached a group of young people outside Park View Academy on West Green Road. Nastri informed them that he was responding to intel regarding knife-point robberies in the area. In turn, he was told that the group were there to collect GCSE results. Transcripts from video evidence show that Nastri took issue with one of the group – a 16-year-old black boy – and a brief verbal confrontation took place. Less than one minute later, Nastri told the boy that he was being detained before “leg-sweeping” him to the floor and forcibly handcuffing him. During the stop-and-search, Nastri said: “The reason I have detained you is, you were a bit cocky, had a chip on your shoulder.”
As events escalated, a viral video shows another officer striking the boy repeatedly. He sustained facial injuries and was taken to hospital as a result. On the day, three officers were injured and four 16-year-old boys were arrested on suspicion of assaulting emergency workers. Footage of the events sparked outrage in the community, and a march from Park View Academy to Tottenham Police Station took place some days later.
The public hearing made clear that it is not police procedure to handcuff people during a stop-and-search, and found that Nastri’s treatment of the boy “essentially amounts to an assault”. It also acknowledged that the events have further damaged public confidence in policing. Nastri resigned following the incident, but chairperson Akbar Khan concluded that had he still been in service, he would have been dismissed.
A 2021 investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), however, concluded that no gross misconduct hearing would be brought against the officer who punched the boy. Sal Naseem, regional director of IOPC, said at the time: “Police use of force is an area of serious concern for our communities and we recognise the potential for incidents like this to damage public confidence in the police.”
"The officer in the footage, which shows a small part of a much bigger incident, was investigated over his use of force but we found that it was necessary, reasonable and appropriate in all of the circumstances, and that there was no case to answer for that allegation.”