Home Secretary Priti Patel has demanded a ‘full explanation’ from Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick after police officers were overpowered and forced to flee a ‘mini riot’ after a block party in Brixton last night.
In shocking scenes, social media footage showed hundreds of people gathered at a south London street party before turning their anger onto police officers who had been called to the disturbance at the ‘unlicensed music event’.
Dame Cressida has been accused of turning the Met into a ‘laughing stock’ and abandoning ‘law abiding residents’ to ‘mob rule’ after a video showed revellers chasing away police officers while screaming ‘run them out’ as 22 officers were injured – including two who needed a full body scan.
Now, sources close to the Home Secretary say that she is expecting to speak to Dame Cressida first thing tomorrow morning to ask for a full explanation of what happened.
Meanwhile, senior Tory sources have insisted London Mayor Sadiq Khan also needs to answer for the way the city is policed in the wake of the disorder.
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen told MailOnline: ‘Cressida Dick has lost control of the streets to a lawless minority. She has lost the confidence of the law abiding majority of residents in Brixton and the country and by effectively abandoning them to mob rule.’
Suggesting Home Secretary Priti Patel should remind Ms Dick and any other police chiefs of their responsibilities, Mr Bridgen added: ‘The duty of a chief constable is to uphold the law. Any who are not willing to do that should go immediately.’
He said the same warning should apply to Avon and Somerset’s Chief Constable Andy Marsh whose officers stood back and watched as the statue of Edward Colston was torn down by Black Lives Matter supporters.
And Nigel Farage added: ‘The police bosses allowed officers to take the knee to an anti-police group – the lawless are laughing at the police now’.
In further developments on the shocking violence last night:
- Video footage showed a group of men engaged in what appeared to be a knife fight leaving one individual covered in blood;
- Met Police confirmed a small number of vehicles were targeted, video footage shows a man attacking a police car with a table leg;
- In the statement this morning they asked the crowd to leave but they ‘did not engage with police’;
- A further clip posted to Twitter shows hundreds of people running away and screaming in fear as the evening descended into chaos;
- London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that large gatherings during the Covid-19 pandemic are ‘deeply irresponsible and risk others’ lives’;
- Tory Mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey said that Mr Khan had ‘lost control of the streets’ and that he needs to ‘take responsibility for the safety of both Londoners and his police officers’.
- London Ambulance Service said one person was rushed to a major trauma centre, while another was taken to hospital.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has described the scenes last night as ‘utterly vile’ and said she will be picking it up with the Met Commissioner
Two men set about vandalising a police car after a party in Brixton erupted into violence last night
Brixton community members have claimed that last night’s block party descended into a mini-riot because police officers ‘rudely’ asked revellers to turn off their music.
They said they felt the police treated them ‘like animals’ before the violence broke out and they felt ‘antagonised’ and ‘threatened’ by the presence of officers.
Some added that tensions were still running high in the black community since George Floyd’s death in the US, with any large police presence ‘bound’ to end in violence.
Others blamed police for blocking off roads which could have been used as exit routes to defuse tensions.
Residents began to gather for a barbecue in the Angell Estate area at around 4pm yesterday, according to neighbours.
Participants said the gathering started off calmly and was authorised by permits.
But they added that the atmosphere changed after police took issue with music being played from a ‘small speaker.’
Decoda Smith, a 30-year-old support worker, from Brixton, south London, said: ‘The police started to arrive at around 4pm. They allowed us to stay, and we had permits, but told us we couldn’t play music.’
The mother-of-one insisted the gathering was ‘peaceful’ and even involved children who were spraying the officers with water guns.
But as the evening progressed she said more and more police arrived at the scene which ‘intimidated’ the crowd.
She added: ‘They kept being rude and aggressive, trying to intimidate us.
‘The police were acting like the community were animals, and the community just responded to how they were being treated.
Officers were confronted with violence last night in Brixton as a street party went awry
Police were confronted by a mob last night and chased out of Brixton with people screaming ‘run them out’
‘George Floyd’s death and the whole black lives movement is still fresh. Violence was bound to happen.’
Despite their presence throughout the day, Police had started to arrive en masse from around midnight, Decoda said.
The resident added that violence sparked at around 2am after some members of the gathering objected to police requests to remove the small speaker playing music.
She said: ‘You can see it in the videos. The police were charging down the street at the crowds. That’s intimidating. Some of these boys have got anger management problems. It’s hard.’
Kwesi Milo, another resident, criticised the police for blocking off key exits.
He said: ‘Most of the people at the gathering had come from outside, travelling on buses that dropped them off on Brixton Road. But police had blocked off that exit and started telling people to go around. That’s annoying.
‘If they would have let people leave by any exit that could have prevented the violence.’
Decoda stressed her anger saying her neighbourhood is often portrayed as troublesome, but attracts no attention for the many positive events it stages.
She said: ‘Come here on a Sunday. Come here in the morning, you will see people exercising on the green and doing positive things.
Groups of people confronted officers last night in Brixton after an unlicensed music event descended into chaos
‘The boys are fine, but they have nothing to do. Tell the MPs to come down here, to give them social clubs and things to do. That’s what needs changing.’
The social worker was further dismayed after hearing a broadcaster reporting that the speaker playing music was shaking the houses ‘to their foundations.’
She added: ‘If that small speaker was shaking foundations then we either need to contact the builders or find out who made that speaker, because that is quality sound.’
A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: ‘Police were called to Overton Road, Lambeth on the evening of Wednesday, 24 June to multiple reports of a large unlicensed music event in the street.
‘Officers attended to encourage the crowd to leave the location but they did not engage with police.
‘The event continued and more officers attended the scene and the group became hostile towards officers.
They added: ‘In total, 22 officers were injured, none seriously although two did require hospital treatment.
‘A small number of police vehicles were damaged. Four arrests were made for assault and public order offences. They remain in police custody.’
Dozens of police were videoed at the scene last night (pictured left), in one clip a man could be seen advancing on officers with what appears to be a large piece of wood (pictured right)
One resident sided entirely with the police who she said were outnumbered by the revellers.
The 30-year-old, who requested to be called Isabel, rode her bike around Brixton’s Angell Estate, witnessing the mounting crowds of partygoers.
She said: ‘The music was very, very loud. I live a few blocks away from the party and I could still hear it from over there.
‘The streets were so busy. There were so many people that it stopped cars passing by.’
Isabel saw rows of taxis arriving at the scene to drop off youngsters who lived elsewhere.
She added: ‘As well as the taxis, the entire car park in front of my house was filled with cars outside the area. They were dancing and causing a racket. They left at about 1am.’
Isabel, who moved to London from the Dominican Republic last year, said police in her home country would not have allowed such a large gathering.
She added: ‘The teenagers were dancing very close and drinking from the same bottle. It was like the virus didn’t exist. In my whole life I have never seen such a large party.
‘In the Dominican Republic the police would have broken up the gathering straight away.’
Isabel, who saw the party at 6pm and again at midnight, said that there was a ‘small’ number of police compared to the size of the crowd.
The aftermath: The ground in Brixton was littered with drinks bottles and small containers which have what is known as ‘hippy crack’ inside
She added: ‘This shouldn’t happen with the virus. I think it is very bad to have a party like this with all that’s going on. I’m with the police.’
In the morning Isabel awoke and described the party’s aftermath as a ‘disaster.’
She said: ‘There were broken bottles everywhere and so much rubbish. I have never seen such a disaster.’
Teenagers involved in clashes with officers in Brixton said violence sparked after police turned off their music and confiscated their scooters before scuffles escalated into riots.
One youngster who attended the massive street party said his friends retaliated after police started pushing ‘kids’ aged around 16 years old.
The young man, who requested not to be named, said: ‘The police turned off the music and started hitting the kids and trying to push them away. And that meant they reacted.’
He added: ‘They were taking people’s scooters, and that pissed them off. The police had no right to be there. There was no violence, no nothing. We were just having fun on the estate.’
Asked whether he conceded the gathering flouted social distancing rules, the youngster responded: ‘Everyone has gone back to school. We thought coronavirus was pretty much over.’
Volunteers clean up in Overton Road, Angell Town, Brixton, south London, today where riots and violent confrontations with police took place overnight.
Another partygoer blamed the police’s excessive force for the violence.
The young woman, who did not want to be named, said: ‘It was the force that they were pushing us with, even the girls, that caused us to retaliate.
‘And then one thing led to another and the police ended up leaving.’
She added: ‘We get that we were making noise and they wanted us to go, but it’s the force they used. What do they expect?’
Yesterday’s episode was the latest in a string of embarrassing incidents for the Met Police after officers were seen kneeling at Black Lives Matter protests, refused to arrest Extinction Rebellion activists earlier this year and failed to stop Winston Churchill’s statue being defaced.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘These were appalling scenes. Violence against the police will not be tolerated. We have been clear that anyone who assaults the police or any members of the emergency services should face the full force of the law.’
He added that there is a consultation on doubling sentences for attacks on emergency services personnel.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has also come under fire and been accused of ‘losing control of the streets’, while a former Scotland Yard chief superintendent said last night’s humiliation was endemic of a police force that has ‘given up’ enforcing the law on the capital’s young black people.
The night descended into anarchy as police were confronted by revellers who pelted them with bottles and chased them back to their van.
A man was seen goading police with a piece of wood, a police car attacked by a man wielding a table leg and what appeared to be a vicious street battle involving knives.
In a statement Scotland Yard said 22 of their officers were hurt and two needed further treatment at hospital. Four people were arrested for assault and public order offences and remain in custody.
Home Secretary Priti Patel this morning condemned the violence and said: ‘Just last weekend, the whole country came together to praise our heroic police officers for putting their own lives on the line to keep us safe. I’ll be picking up with the Met Commissioner immediately.’
Unions chief John Apter described the violence as ‘disgraceful’ and the Met Police Federation tweeted that their officers are not ‘punchbags.’
London Ambulance Service said one person was rushed to a major trauma centre, while another was taken to hospital.
Humiliation of the Met: Brixton violence is latest embarrassment for Scotland Yard officers
Extinction Rebellion farce: During last year’s wave of climate protests, the Met was stretched beyond capacity and admitted it was spending less time tackling real crime. Scotland Yard responded by imposing a blanket ban on the demonstrations. But they were left red-faced when this was ruled in the courts as unlawful and that detaining activists was false imprisonment.
Kneeling with BLM protesters: A handful of officers were pictured breaking ranks and kneeling in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters, many of whom have shown brazen disregard for the police, in London earlier this month while on duty. Several constables were injured as the night spiralled into violence.
Failure to stop statue vandalism: Officers failed to prevent war memorials being desecrated amid large anti-racism protests in the capital. The monument to Winston Churchill was daubed with the words ‘was a racist’ and the Cenotaph was also vandalised.
Lockdown hypocrisy: Met commissioner Cressida Dick was among the crowds of people who gathered on Westminster Bridge to clap for carers at the height of the pandemic. At the time, Britons were ordered to stay at home and keep two metres apart, police officers stood idly by as this was flouted on the bridge, leading to a massive backlash.
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers said that nearly 30 of his colleagues were hurt, including ‘walking wounded’ and two officers and described the incident as ‘absolutely shocking’.
He said: ‘A couple of the officers are very serious and have had CT scans, we’ve got some quite nasty injuries but the majority of them are walking wounded.Let’s not belittle any injury to my colleagues – every one is a serious injury for us.’
In one video a topless man climbs on a police car then repeatedly hits it using a table leg. While another man leaps onto the vehicle to stamp on the windscreen.
The crowd appear to encourage the act of vandalism with one person shouting ‘yeah, yeah’ in the background.
In another clip, a large fight appeared to break out with men wielding knives. The clip ends with a man covered in blood and another was left prone on the floor after being viciously kicked.
More terrifying footage shows a man advancing on police saying ‘what what what’ while telling the police to back up and holding a large piece of wood.
A Met Police statement this morning confirmed they asked the crowd to leave but they ‘did not engage with police.’
They added that further officers attended the scene and the group ‘became hostile’ and a small number of police vehicles were damaged.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that large gatherings during the Covid-19 pandemic are ‘deeply irresponsible and risk others’ lives’.
‘I’m in touch with the Met Police about the completely unacceptable events in Brixton overnight. Violence against the police will not be tolerated,’ he added.
One witness, who did not want to be named, said: ‘After the police backed up, the group of people then forced the police out of the estate, throwing things at the police, smashed up a police car that they abandoned and then it moved more towards the main road.’
And bus driver Michael, who did not wish to share his second name, lives in Overton Road and said it was ‘very upsetting’ that the violence happened in his area.
‘The whole thing should have been shut down earlier,’ he said.
‘People who live here are not the culprits, it’s those damn fools from different areas that come down to tarnish the works and efforts that have been put into the area by the estate management.’
A police van zooms away after officers encountered violence in Brixton last night. As the van whisks officers away, a thug clobbers its back doors
Hundreds of people appeared to be at the late night gathering in Brixton last night
There were a number of confrontations with police officers last night, who were later chased out of Brixton
Officers were confronted on multiple occasions last night (left and right) and were chased out the area at one point
Police Federation chair John Apter slammed violence against officers in Brixton last night
A woman who wished to remain anonymous said she heard the clashes taking place just outside her house and was too scared to go outside.
She said: ‘It all started with the party, after the party the police were there… all I heard was noise, noise, noise. I don’t know what the people were doing but there was loud noise at 2am or 3am.
‘I was scared and couldn’t go outside… I didn’t see anything I just stayed inside of the house. I see the news today and it’s crazy, it’s all over the television. It’s bad. I’m OK but I just don’t know what happened… the police needed to stop it. It was very dangerous.’
The witness added this is not the first time street parties have taken place on her road.
But Tory Mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey said: ‘This is what London looks like when the Mayor loses control of the streets. Surging crime over the past four years, violence at the Black Lives Matter protests and now the horrific scenes we saw last night in Brixton.
‘It’s time for Sadiq Khan to show leadership and stop blaming others when things go wrong. He needs to take responsibility for the safety of both Londoners and his police officers. And he needs to do it today.’
One woman described the scene as ‘disgusting and sickening’. She tweeted: ‘They are out of control and you want to continue to ease lockdown?!?!?!?! How were they allowed to have a BLOCK PARTY that had hundreds of people and it didn’t get locked off??
The Twitter user added: ‘And this wasn’t even the worst part , weapons were thrown at police, an abandoned police car smashed up, people’s cars parked smashed!! Police driven out onto the main road by these disgraceful people shame on all of you!!!!!!’
A further clip posted to Twitter shows hundreds of people running away and screaming in fear as the evening descended into chaos.
Police Federation Chief John Apter slammed the violence scenes last night that left two officers needing hospital treatment.
He tweeted: ‘The level of anger, hatred and violence being shown against police officers by some is disgraceful.
‘Some of the inaccurate and inflammatory reporting by some MSM has made my colleagues fair game for those who don’t need much of an excuse. My colleagues don’t deserve this.’
And the Met Police Federation said: ’15 more colleagues injured in deplorable scenes. Police officers are not punchbags. This violence is despicable. We wish our injured colleagues all well.’
The large gathering comes just days after Boris Johnson is set to ease lockdown restrictions on July.
Pictures of packed beaches yesterday and block party’s such as this in south London will make health authorities increasingly nervous about a second wave of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
The Metropolitan Police said the party was finally cleared in the early hours of Thursday, while a Section 60 order, which gives police powers to stop and search without reasonable suspicion, was later put in place in the area.
In one clip people hundreds of people could be seen fleeing into the night as chaotic scenes unfolded in Brixton
Reacting to the alarming footage from Brixton, former Met chief superintendent Kevin Hurley said the affray was endemic of a force which has given up trying to enforce the law upon ‘black youths’.
He told Sky News: ‘We’ve got into a vicious circle with police officers dealing with young black people, who always come to the perspective that the police are trying to suppress them.
‘And the police very quickly come to learn that dealing with young black people is quite frankly aggravation that puts their careers and mortgages at risk.
‘That’s the reason why so many black youth are killing each other in London, because the police have given up trying to stop them taking knives and guns off them.’
Met Police BCU Commander Colin Wingrove said: ‘Our role is to protect the public and ensure guidelines are adhered to in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 protecting the NHS and save lives
‘Our officers work incredibly hard to engage and explain the public health message and regulations to prevent such gatherings occurring.
‘Last night we received numerous concerns from residents complaining about a large gathering, noise, anti-social behaviour and violence and officers responded to those concerns.
‘These gatherings are unlawful, as well as posing a risk to public health and against coronavirus restrictions.
‘The violence shown towards officers is totally unacceptable and we will not tolerate it in any form.
‘An investigation into the incident is now taking place and those involved will be brought to justice.’
The spokesman for the London Ambulance Service said: ‘We received multiple calls overnight to reports of people injured in an area spanning Brixton Road, Loughborough Road and Overton Road, Brixton.
‘We sent six ambulance crews, eight medics in fast response cars and three officers to the area. We also dispatched an advanced trauma team from London’s Air Ambulance, which consists of a paramedic and a doctor in a car.
‘We treated two patients at the scene: one was taken to a major trauma centre as a priority and the other was taken to hospital. We also treated eight police officers, two of whom were taken to hospital in police vehicles.’