1 July 2018
George the Poet says police strip-searched him for no reason after a gig.
"They handcuffed me and said they needed to search my car for weapons," he said.
"They were being very rude, putting hands on me. It's an outrage this is what's delegated to us as young black men," added the 27-year-old.
The Metropolitan Police said officers stopped the artist for not displaying car insurance, and that the search was conducted "correctly".
Last night after a beautiful sold out show I was chilling outside my parents' house when police rolled up in that big van asking questions about my car. I answered and verified. Then they told me to move my hand from my waistband. Out of nowhere they cuffed me and searched my car for weapons. After the car itself was the first issue 🤔. They put me in the van and did a strip search. They then took 20 mins to write my search slip, being rude to my parents and neighbours the whole time • This week I've done talks on diversity in Cambridge and Cardiff. Both were amazing experiences. Last night I delivered a show about all aspects of English life - school, relationships, politics, colonialism. Police didn't get a mention once cos as a grown man I'm sick of talking about them. They will never change and they don't deserve my energy. But to be cuffed and dragged around in front of my parents while they make up lies about me being aggressive and having weapons...it's a reminder that we don't fight on our own terms, we fight on theirs. To all my young boys who are locked in conflict with each other, please wake up and realise who your real enemies are. Realise how much harder you're making it for your children. These people don't wanna see us up, but still like dust we'll rise • I don't like sharing images of me being handled like a second class citizen by public servants whose salaries we pay taxes for. This is not how I see myself, and it's not what I invite into my life. But these images should be an education for anyone who doesn't understand the toxic energies that are quietly spread throughout our community by state actors. Imagine if my nephews woke up and saw their big famous uncle getting handled like this. What seeds would that sow in them? Writing this post was boring, I've got better things to do. Sorry to anyone who was woken up by the noise.
A post shared by George The Poet (@georgethepoet) on Jun 28, 2018 at 11:49pm PDT
End of Instagram post by georgethepoet
George Mpanga posted videos from the confrontation on Instagram.
"Out of nowhere they cuffed me and searched my car for weapons," he wrote.
"They put me in the van and did a strip-search. They then took 20 mins [sic] to write my search slip, being rude to my parents and neighbours the whole time."
The performer had arrived at his parents' home in north London after playing a gig when officers approached him on Thursday night.
"My engine was off, my lights were off," he told BBC 5Live's Stephen Nolan.
"While I was answering questions, officers were hovering around the car, flashing torches into it.
"At this point, I'm not aware of any problems [with the car], so I'm repeatedly asking 'what are the grounds for these questions?'"
George the Poet was nominated for the 2015 Brit critics' choice award and came fifth in the BBC's Sound Of list that year.
He attended Cambridge University, and has since gone on to become one of the UK's most prominent performance poets.
"They told me they'd found I wasn't insured," he said of the police search, "so I showed them my insurance policy."
He said the officers' approach then changed.
""They started implying that I was being uncooperative, handcuffed me and said they needed to search my car for weapons.
"To go from an insurance question to searching for weapons requires explanation."
His Instagram post shows family members coming out to ask police why they had stopped him.
"I don't like sharing images of me being handled like a second-class citizen by public servants whose salaries we pay taxes for," he wrote.
"But these images should be an education for anyone who doesn't understand the toxic energies that are quietly spread throughout our community by state actors."
Official figures show that black people are far more likely to be stopped and searched than any other ethnic group.
The Met Police said in a statement that they had stopped the poet for not displaying car insurance.
"Officers established that he did in fact have insurance for the vehicle," it said.
"The officers were wearing body worn video. The footage has been reviewed by senior officers who are satisfied at the way the search was conducted."
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