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Outrage at police for locking up innocent teenager for hours

WRONGFUL ARREST: Shakeil Jackson with his parents Audrey and Patrick

THE PARENTS of a 19-year-old Birmingham man are demanding to know why police ignored their son’s rock solid alibi when they wrongly arrested him on suspicion of robbery and held him in a cell overnight for 15 hours.

Shakeil Jackson, from Handsworth, was held after being identified as a suspect in a mobile phone theft, but at the time of the robbery he was at a police station reporting that his motorbike had been stolen.

Despite having the paperwork to prove he had been at Thornhill Road police station, officers ignored this and detained him at Steelhouse Lane police station from 6pm until 9am the following morning.

It was only when police interviewed him at 9am that an officer checked CCTV cameras which confirmed Shakeil was at the police station. He was then released without charge.

Shakeil said: “I found the whole experience both frightening and humiliating. I just couldn’t understand why the police didn’t listen to me and check the CCTV at Thornhill Road.

“They would have found out in seconds that it was impossible for me to have carried out the robbery.”

His distraught parents Audrey and Patrick Jackson are now seeking legal advice and a complaint has already been forwarded by Bob Jones, the Police & Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, demanding an immediate investigation into the case.

But West Midlands Police, which has promised a “full and thorough investigation”, has refuted any claims of racial profiling in the case, or wrongful arrest.

The incident has also been taken up by community activist Desmond Jaddoo and Maxie Hayles, the West Midlands chair of BARAC (Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts) and the former chair of the Birmingham Racial Attacks Monitoring Unit (BRAMU).

At a press conference held at Cannon Street Memorial Baptist Church, where the Jackson family worship and Shakeil’s mother is part of the leadership team, Jaddoo said: “This young man protested his innocence at the point of arrest and it should have taken officers no longer than 10 minutes to check his whereabouts, but instead he got “the treatment” and was detained in a cell for 15 hours.

“Ironically, the police gave him the alibi that no one could challenge because he was at one of their own police stations.

“On a recent visit to Birmingham, the Rev Jesse Jackson said he felt Birmingham was similar to the Birmingham of Alabama in the 1950s and I feel this is quite significant.

“Our community’s relationship with West Midlands Police is not good. There are bad apples in the community, but there are also rotten apples in the police. Officers are here to protect and serve the community, not oppress us.

“I have to respect Shakeil for speaking out about this today because there is a lot of fear in the community about this issue.”

Hayles added: “It seems we are going back to the days of the 1980s, to the horrific times of stop and search when our young people were brutalised and intimidated by police. This is total racial profiling and the police are doing this just because they can.

“I am fed up of talking nicely with the police at community events and then finding it is a different matter with officers on the streets.

“Once these young people are criminalised they can’t get jobs – their lives are in ruins.”

Shakeil, a self-taught pianist, who is currently unemployed, has never been in trouble with the police.

His distraught mother, who broke down in tears, said officers had also come to their home and searched Shakeil’s room. She said: “When I heard what had happened to Shakeil I prayed to God to keep him safe. It was a terrible experience.

“But we have had so much support from our community who know what a wonderful, kind person Shakeil is.”

Pastor Bryan Scott, who has known Shakeil since he was a little boy coming to church, said: “This whole situation could have been defused if the police had just listened to him.”

Birmingham Police Commander Chief Superintendent Clive Burgess said: “It is extremely disappointing some people are suggesting ethnicity was a factor was a factor.

“Police officers were responding to witness accounts suggesting Mr Jackson was responsible for the theft.

“Our inquiries showed this was not the case and we apologise for any inconvenience caused to Mr Jackson. I hope he understands officers were merely acting on information supplied by a victim and witnesses.

“As part of the investigation we needed to identify and analyse CCTV from Thornhill Road police station where Mr Jackson said he was at around the time of the robbery.”

Burgess added: “We were able to confirm this although the exact timings of his visit to the police station meant it could not alone be used as an irrefutable alibi.

“To date we have not received a complaint from Mr Jackson – naturally we are keen to speak to him in order to establish the precise nature of his concerns.”

“We take complaints of this nature very seriously and this has been forwarded to our Professional Standards Department where a thorough investigation will be conducted.”

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