The Amit Sharma case is an example of renegade cops attacking disabled people for no reason. It was clearly an unwarranted action totally far beyond the remit of any police duties, yet barely reported in the national press (the Daily Mail ironically gave it the most amount of coverage it seems.)
Amit Sharma, who is 5′ 3″ was attacked by this mysterious yet burly 6ft 3″ cop late one night in December 1996. The un-named officer (whose ID was undoubtedly known to the Met Police) attacked Mr Sharma near the Warner cinema (now the Vue) in Park Royal. As Sharma recollected, the mysterious Met Police officer ‘just went wild.’
The Burger King in Park Royal, London, W3 0PA
The attack itself continued in the nearby Burger King car park where the mystery Met officer hurled Mr Sharma against a parked car and attempted to inflict further injuries upon Mr Sharma.
The case was heard in the old Central London County Court premises at Regent’s Park, and Mr Sharma awarded £8,000 in damages. The Met Police agreed not to contest the claim and paid Sharma’s legal costs. Even though the Met knew the offending officer’s identity the force neither issued an admission of liability nor an apology.
The Crown Prosecution Service decided not to press charges. In the event an attempt was made to ensure the Met Police disciplined this officer. This failed and complaints were lobbied at the Police Complaints Authority for failing to ensure the officer was censured.
Amit Sharma expressed concern the unidentified and clearly dangerous Met Police officer had been able to attack a ‘disabled teenager’ yet able to continue his work and potentially pose a threat to others.
The National Press itself barely covered Mr Sharma’s case, the local news faring better. The Independent, in a single paragraph, barely touched upon the case. The Daily Mail gave slightly better coverage in its editions on 27th March 1999:
“Disabled Asian student Amit Sharma, 19, who walks with a pronounced limp, was attacked by a plain clothes officer as he stood outside a cinema in Park Royal, North West London in December 1996, Central London County Court heard.
‘A police officer in plain clothes took hold of the plantiff aggressively and hit him across his face with his left hand,’ Mr Khan told the hearing.
‘He was then taken hold of by his arms and slammed against a nearby motor car twice. On the second occasion the plantiff’s left hip hit the side of a mirror of the car and he fell on his front onto the ground. The plain-clothed police officer then took hold of him with one hand and slapped him across the back of his head with the other.’
‘The plaintiff crouched down on all fours and the officer tried to kick him in the face. The plaintiff protected himself with his arm and the kick connected with it.’
Mr Sharma’s friends together with employees from the cinema stopped the unidentified officer from Acton leaving the scene.
‘The officer refused to give his name but claimed to be part of an anti terrorist unit.'”
At the time this was seen as a racist incident, race & disability hate crime had not yet been introduced into British Law.
Clearly if this incident had occurred in 2015 it would have been a hate crime against disabled people.
No criminal proceedings were ever undertaken against the mystery police officer. Neither apology nor liability was admitted despite a court hearing that forced the Met Police to award Amit £8,000 compensation.
The solicitor in the case was Sadiq Khan QC. The Police Complaints Authority claimed Khan failed to give it the necessary evidence for which the Met could then be forced to either discipline or even retire the officer in question.
Sadiq Khan (currently Shadow Justice Secretary) served as solicitor with Christian Khan (now Imran Khan and Partners Solicitors) from 1997 to 2005. I contacted Sadiq Khan via Twitter on March 18th for any comment on the Amit Sharma case. No response….
Mr Sharma said in an interview with the Ealing Gazette: “He’s a public servant who attacked a disabled teenager and I’m afraid he might do it to somebody else. You’ve got to be able to trust the police.”
The Ealing Gazette (now GetWestLondon)
Sir Paul Condon (Commissioner 1993-2000) had heeded the Macpherson report (Feb 1999) and had claimed the Met was doing all it could to recruit from Asian communities, even devolving to respect them more. This was seen as nothing more than a ruse in the light of the Sharma case and other Met Police beatings upon innocent Blacks/Asians around the same time.
The Ealing Gazette’s report on Condon and racism (see below) was placed next to the Amit Sharma case, clearly exposing the Met’s hypocrisy. Local community leaders claimed Met simply were creating a smokescreen in the light of MacPherson’s findings. They claimed the Met Police were “not flavour of the month and there are many reasons why certain groups dont want to join the force.”
Amit Sharma was one of the speakers at the huge Blair Peach demonstration in Southall Park on 24th April 1999 where he gave a speech on behalf of the Blair Peach 20th Anniversary Committee re the Met Police and it’s institutional racism.
The Anti Nazi League drew up a petition to give to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. Sir Paul Condon received this petition during a visit to Southall 30 May 1999.
The Police Complaints Authority decided not to take any action. As we have seen, this was the source of some upset. The PCA defended its decision by way of blaming Sadiq Khan QC for failing to submit evidence to the investigator of the case, Lorna Whyte.
The Police Complaints Authority which existed until 2004, was based at 10 Great George Street, SW1P 3AE.