West Midlands Police: Solihull Covid 'harassment' goes viral

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media captionVideo of 'power hungry' male police officer goes viral

A man said he felt degraded after being detained in a police car when challenged on his way to work by an officer citing Covid legislation.

His video of the events in Solihull on Wednesday has been viewed more than a million times on Twitter.

It shows Nino Romano, 21, questioned on his plans, before he is called an idiot and threatened with "locking up".

West Midlands Police said the officer's actions were "unacceptable" and there was no suspicion of any offence.

Mr Romano accused him of being "power-hungry".

The force said it had reviewed both the footage and police camera video of the challenge to Mr Romano and concluded "conduct fell far below what we would expect".

A spokesperson added: "[The officer's] manner was not acceptable, not the face of [the force] and we will deal with the situation."

The male officer was with a colleague and their duties were to ensure people adhered to Covid restrictions, police said.

Footage shows him asking Mr Romano what he is up to and where he lives - information readily shared by the 21-year-old, who says he is going to work.

But matters take a turn when Mr Romano - on his way to catch a train to his job in nearby Birmingham - refuses to give police his name.

image copyrightNino Romano
image captionNino Romano says he feels "annoyed" and "degraded"

The government's website says police might stop members of the public to ask their name, their purpose in the area and where they are going, but people do not have to stop or answer.

It adds not giving the detail cannot be used as a basis for search or arrest if there is no other reason to suspect a person.

The officer can be heard saying that as Mr Romano had refused to give his name, he had "reasonable suspicion" he was "telling lies".

West Midlands Police said: "[Mr Romano] explained he was heading to work - that's clearly a justifiable reason to be out and about and there was no suspicion he had committed any offences."

Mr Romano said when put into the police car he eventually gave his name, and was released without being formally arrested.

'Power hungry'

But he said the episode had left him "annoyed", and accused the officer of being "power hungry".

He said: "I've just got used to it, that's how the police act to the younger generation.

"I think they targeted me because of the clothes I was wearing - a tracksuit and a coat.

"I'm going to carry on going to work, but the fact they feel entitled to stop people [is] a bit degrading; it's not nice at all.

"There were so many people around, why pick me?"

In the video, the officer says that under virus legislation Mr Romano must provide his details, otherwise he will be arrested. He is then threatened with "locking up".

Mr Romano accuses the officer of harassment, and suggests he has been targeted due to his hoodie, and adds he takes issue with someone pulling him over.

"We're the police, we're not just someone, you idiot," the officer says.

Mr Romano then states "just 'cause you're the police that gives you the right to stop anyone you want and get their details?", to which the officer says "yes".

On saying the officer needed to be "re-informed" about the law, Mr Romano is put into a police car and told the matter will be settled in a police station.

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