Muslim student sues police ‘after being arrested because I was an Asian with a beard’
ES, 13 hours ago
The man claims he was targeted as he watched the men’s marathon in 2012 Michael Steele/Getty Images
A Muslim businessman is suing City of London Police over claims he was arrested at the 2012 Olympics because he was an Asian man with a beard.
Akmal Afzal feels he was deliberately targeted by officers because of his race as he watched the men’s marathon.
He was quizzed about why he was there, accused of giving a false name, arrested and taken to a police station.
Mr Afzal, 23, said he had to undergo a “foreign national check” and an intelligence report was created on him for Special Branch. He was released without charge but is suing for false imprisonment, assault and discrimination.
The force insists he was arrested on suspicion of theft. Mr Afzal, a Briton of Pakistani descent and at the time a bearded student at Bromley College, claims there was no reason to single him out other than his appearance.
His barrister Rajeev Thacker told a jury: “His position is he did nothing wrong and he says the reason he was treated in the way he was relates to his ethnic origin and/or his religion.”
Mr Afzal, who runs a media development firm, said: “I believed the police felt I may have been involved in terrorist activities. I feel I was picked out based on my skin colour.”
The Central London county court hearing continues.