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Water pistol (symbolic image): Disproportionate reaction to a toy?

Photo: Image Source / Image Source / Getty Images

London's Metropolitan Police are under fire for a tough operation against a 13-year-old with a water pistol. The boy had been involved in a water fight with his younger sibling on July 19 when a police officer on patrol reported a potential firearm incident. As a result, armed units were sent to the alleged crime scene.

The Alliance for Police Accountability (APA) initiative has now announced that the water guns were clearly toys, one was white-blue and one purple-white. The black boy was "rammed" off his bicycle by a police car, the BBC quotes the initiative. Then armed forces surrounded him, pointed their weapons at the boy and arrested him. The 13-year-old, who is only called Child X for personal rights reasons, was only released when his mother confronted the police, APA said. But she, too, was treated "with contempt."

Investigation into possible racial bias

Detective Chief Superintendent James Conway apologized to the family. At the same time, he said an internal investigation had found no wrongdoing. "Our responders are facing rapidly evolving situations based on limited information available to them at this time," Conway said. Police officers should treat all firearms as real and loaded weapons until proven otherwise. A complaint of racial bias is still under investigation.

London's Metropolitan Police has been under criticism for some time. An independent investigation had found that the agency was institutionally racist, sexist and homophobic.