Beds, Herts & Bucks

Faruk Ali case: Justice march for autistic man to be held

Faruk Ali
Image caption Faruk Ali's family are calling for a video to be released from the police car camera

Hundreds of people are set to take part in a march supporting an autistic man who claims he was assaulted by police.

Bedfordshire PCs Christopher Thomas and Christopher Pitts were found not guilty of misconduct in a public office after chasing Faruk Ali, 33, in a police car.

Mr Ali's family say a video allegedly showing the officers using racist language should be released.

An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation into what happened is continuing.

PCs Thomas, 33, of Welwyn Garden City, and Pitts, 39, from Bedford, were cleared of misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice at Aylesbury Crown Court last month.

PC Thomas was also cleared of racially aggravated assault.

Their trial heard the policemen chased Mr Ali down a street near his home in Luton on 20 February 2014.

He had been putting out neighbours bins at the time.

During the case a video from an in-car camera was played showing the officers laughing as they pursued Mr Ali, who has the mental age of a five-year-old child.

Image copyright SOUTH BEDS NEWS AGENCY
Image caption Bedfordshire police officers Christopher Thomas and Christopher Pitts were cleared of all charges

The prosecution alleged that racist comments were made, but this was denied by the officers.

Defence teams for the officers said the men had chased Mr Ali because they were concerned about his demeanour and because he was running.

Attiq Malik, who is representing Mr Ali's family, said the video should now be made public.

'Lost hope'

"It has been played in the public domain," he said. "It should now be released to the media."

He said the Justice for Faruk Ali march was about "transparency".

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Faruk Ali has the mental age of a five year old

Mr Ali's brother, Dhobir, said "people had lost hope in the police" as a result of what happened.

Faruk Ali's supporters are being joined on the march by members of the Justice for Leon group. Leon Briggs died after being taken into police custody in Luton on 4 November 2014.

The IPCC is also investigating that case.

Liberty Louise, from Justice for Leon, said the march was a "show of unity".

Bedfordshire Police said the force could not comment on either the Faruk Ali or Leon Briggs cases because of the IPCC investigations.

Ch Insp Greg Horsford said he did not expect the protest to cause major disruption in Luton.

The march is set to start outside Nadeem Plaza in Dunstable Road, Bury Park at about 13:00 GMT on Sunday, with the protesters moving on to Luton police station.

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