Footage shows West Midlands Police officer dispersing crowd with baton
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May. 28, 2020
Footage has emerged showing a police officer using a baton in an attempt to disperse a crowd after a house fire.
Mohammed Hanif, who lives nearby, said it was "unreal how the police dealt with it".
The video, filmed by a resident in Small Heath, Birmingham, shows an officer using a baton and incapacitant spray.
West Midlands Police confirmed it used pava spray "in an attempt to disperse the crowd of 20-30 people".
The force spokeswoman added the situation "turned hostile" and three officers were assaulted, resulting in minor injuries .
Residents told the BBC they had gathered to help a family after the blaze on Hob Moor Road and Monica Road on Tuesday.
Image caption The fire is thought to have started accidentally
The footage was filmed as emergency services responded to the blaze at about 01:30 BST.
Mr Hanif said people gathered to help the family whose house was ablaze but "there was no aggression".
He said: "It's just unreal how the police dealt with it... if they had spoken to us and told us to move along, but the thing was we were outside our house, we were there because we were helping out the neighbours.
"We weren't thinking about breaking the law [around social distancing]," he said.
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A man who lives in the house, who wishes to remain anonymous, was treated for smoke inhalation and claims he was hit with a baton on his leg by an officer.
"It was bang out of order," he said. "I feel disappointed with the police."
Image caption Up to 30 people gathered outside the property as emergency services responded to the fire
He said police used incapacitant spray and smashed property windows. In the video, officers are seen forcing their way into the house.
A 28-year-old man arrested on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker has been released under investigation.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) confirmed it had not received a referral.
West Midlands Police added: "The incident is now being investigated by Force CID and is also being assessed by the force's Professional Standards Department who are examining Body Worn Video and mobile phone footage."
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