Faruk’s Story (reproduced from BBC News website, 26 November 2014)
As he did every Thursday morning, on 20 February 2014, 33 year old autistic man Faruk Ali was putting out the wheelie-bins in front of his parents house in Luton. On this occasion, a police car with two officers had pulled up in the street and were watching Faruk as he went about his work dressed in his slippers. According to a witness, the officer in the passenger seat got out of the car, and without even introducing himself to Faruk, “grabbed him by the neck and hauled him to the floor”. The officer then proceeded to drag Faruk over several of the bins at which point Faruk started screaming for his mother.
One of Faruk’s brothers then arrived and shouted at the officer that his brother was mentally impaired, at which point the officer let go of Faruk who then started running to his parents house. Instead of calming and resolving the situation both officers then proceeded to chase Faruk into the house, where he was again allegedly struck by an officer until stopped by Faruk’s sister who got between them and her brother and asked what they were doing. The officers responded that Mr Ali may have been a burglar and could have had a knife and stabbed someone.
As later accepted by the court, the prosecution case was that the two officers’ attack on Faruk was not for any legitimate policing purposes but for “fun” and “their own amusement”. This was confirmed from the police car dashboard CCTV on which the officers can be heard laughing and joking as they drove away from the incident. The two officers were later sacked from the force but cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.
What makes this case even more alarming is that Faruk had been the victim of another disability hate crime by Bedfordshire police three years earlier. Faruk had been stopped by two police officers after a member of the public claimed that he “looked suspicious”. When one of the officers challenged Faruk and was told he was going to eat “fish and chips”, Faruk was accused of “taking the piss” and pulled to the floor. Even though Faruk begged the officers to stop and a neighbour told them that he was autistic, they proceeded to handcuff him and place him in a police van; whereupon Faruk became so distressed that he wet himself. Bedfordshire police subsequently found no wrongdoing by the officers but did agree to place an autism marker on their system and improve officer training—clearly this did nothing to avoid the second hate incident in 2014.
Read House of Lords debate on Faruk’s case here introduced by Baroness Uddin in 2015