Misidentification of Water Pistol Leads to Armed Police Confrontation with 13-Year-Old


London, UK - A 13-year-old boy found himself at the center of a harrowing incident when armed police officers mistook his water pistol for an actual firearm. The child, identified as "Child X," was forcibly stopped from cycling and placed in handcuffs during a confrontation with marksmen in Hackney, East London, according to the Alliance for Police Accountability (APA).

The APA strongly criticized the response, asserting that the toy water pistol was unmistakably not a real weapon. They revealed that the boy was engaged in a water fight with a sibling on July 19, when a patrolling police officer reported a potential firearms incident.

Describing the toys involved, the APA stated that one was blue and white while the other was pink and white.

In response to the report, armed units from both the Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police were dispatched to the scene. Child X was subsequently arrested on suspicion of possessing a firearm, the APA disclosed.

"The subsequent treatment of Child X and the horrific scene that unfolded was appalling," the APA expressed in a statement. "A police van rammed Child X off his bicycle, knocking him to the ground. He was surrounded by armed police officers who pointed their firearms at him."

According to the APA, the boy's mother also faced disrespect from the officers when she arrived and challenged the situation. Child X was eventually released at the scene.

While an internal investigation by the Metropolitan Police found no misconduct by the involved officers, an additional complaint alleging racial bias is currently under investigation by the force's standards department. The Independent Office for Police Conduct indicated that the Met is capable of conducting both investigations internally.

Det Ch Supt James Conway of the Met Police issued an apology to the family for the "extremely distressing" incident, emphasizing that officers are advised by the College of Policing to treat all firearms as real and loaded until proven otherwise.

He added, "This does not in any way detract from our recognition of the trauma caused to the boy, for which I apologized soon afterwards to his family."

Child X's family has viewed the body-worn video footage of the incident and has met with Mr. Conway. They are slated to provide a statement regarding the incident on Thursday.

A spokesperson from the City of London Police noted that their attendance at the incident in support of the Met Police was standard procedure.