Man wants police to pay for car window smashed during search

Mattha Busby
·3-min read

A man who had his car window smashed by police when he was driving home from an interview about “racially motivated” stop-and-searches has demanded to be reimbursed for repairs after a police standards investigation ruled it was unacceptable for officers to have returned his vehicle full of shards of glass.

The incident gained widespread attention after Ryan Colaço, 30, from east London, posted a video on social media of the search by City of London police officers. He was dragged from his car, handcuffed, taken into custody, strip searched, held overnight and released at 5am, then made to wait four hours for his car to be returned.

This incident came just days after he was also stopped and searched by Metropolitan police officers. Drugs were found on neither occasion.

However, the City of London force – which sent him a report detailing its internal investigation into officers’ conduct on Friday – stopped short of apologising even as it acknowledged there were failings in the manner Colaço, who still faces the prospect of being charged for obstructing a drugs search despite having none in his possession, was treated.

“Whilst there is no set policy in force in relation to how a vehicle should be returned after a lawful search, I believe that it is incumbent on officers to return a vehicle to the condition in which they found it wherever possible,” it said.

“Failing to return several panels to their respective place post-search means the vehicle was returned in substandard condition to Mr Colaço. There was also a lot of glass still within the vehicle making it a potential hazard. As such I believe that the level of service provided in this was unacceptable.”

The force’s Professional Standards Directorate pledged that “learning should be placed on the system” to remind officers to return, where possible, personal property following a search in a reasonable condition to “prevent future dissatisfaction”.

However, it dismissed allegations made by Colaço that the basis for the stop and search was unlawful, that the use of force was excessive, and that officers should not have ignored coronavirus distancing rules.

“I demand an apology from both the Met and City police for all the stress caused in what I believe has been racially motivated targeting,” hesaid, also calling to be reimbursed for repairs to his car.

“‘I am sorry you feel that way’ and ‘I am sorry for the distress caused’ are not apologies … I feel I’m guilty until proven innocent as I had to foot the window bill and I’m still released under investigation. I feel like my body and property have been treated like I’m worthless.”

Colaço said he had been searched about 20 times, but did not have a criminal record, adding: “It is very traumatic to drive now and I am only using my car if extremely necessary. It is not fair to taint people of colour for driving BMW vehicles.”

In an accompanying letter, the City of London force added: “We aim to provide an exceptional policing service and I am sorry that you have had cause to complain to us about your dissatisfaction with the service you received.

“Having considered the investigating officer’s report, I have concluded that the level of service provided to you by the police service was acceptable in all but one allegation.”