Man with officer's knee on his head

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Footage on social media appears to show an officer with his knee on Marcus Coutain’s head during the arrest

A police officer has been told he is the subject of a criminal investigation over an arrest in which a black man appeared to have his neck knelt on.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating the actions of two Met Police officers who detained Marcus Coutain on 16 July.

It is looking at whether the use of force in the arrest was “appropriate”.

Mr Coutain was filmed telling officers to “get off my neck” as he was arrested in Finsbury Park, north London.

Police said officers were called to reports of a fight in Isledon Road and footage posted on social media that evening showed two officers holding a handcuffed black man on the pavement.

Common assault investigation

In a new statement the IOPC said it had launched an independent investigation into the conduct of two Met Police officers.

The IOPC said: “One officer has been advised that they are subject to a criminal investigation for common assault and investigation for gross misconduct on use of force; authority, respect and courtesy; discreditable conduct and honesty and integrity.

“A second officer has been advised they are subject to a misconduct investigation on challenging and reporting improper conduct; authority, respect and courtesy and honesty and integrity.”

Since the arrest, one Met officer has been suspended and another has been placed on restricted duties, the force said.

Mr Coutain pleaded not guilty at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court to possessing a knife in public.

The 48-year-old will next appear at Snaresbrook Crown Court on 17 August.

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About 30 people attended a protest outside Islington police station following the arrest

His lawyer Tim Rustem said the events “mirrored almost identically what happened to George Floyd”, who died after being restrained in the US.

The IOPC’s Sal Naseem said: “We are independently examining whether the use of force and the stop and search on this occasion were appropriate and proportionate in line with approved police policies.

“We will also investigate whether the officers treated the man differently because of his race.”

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