AFP, July 18, 2008
Two British police officers were injured after some 30 teenagers, some in school uniform, attacked them “like animals” after they asked a girl to pick up a piece of litter, officers said Friday.
One of the policemen was treated in hospital for bite wounds after the attack in a shopping precinct in Croydon, south London, Wednesday. The officers, aged 34 and 29, were on sick leave with bruising and knee injuries.
The teenage girl was initially asked to pick up a piece of litter. She did so but immediately dropped it again. When asked to pick it up again she became aggressive, and a group of teenagers gathered round and attacked them.
A number of men in their 30s and 40s and several women joined in the attack. All those involved were black, London’s Metropolitan Police said.
One of the officers who was bitten, and is now recovering at home, said: “They were acting like animals, but I hate using the term ‘animals’ because they would not do that. Animals have a reason for doing something.
“This is just nonsense violence. It is difficult to think that they could do something like this—and to a policeman.”
A 15-year-old girl was arrested at the scene on suspicion of assault and bailed. When her parents arrived to pick her up, they complained about having their summer holiday interrupted, one of the attacked officers added.
The issue of youth violence has been highlighted by a string of fatal knife attacks in London and elsewhere in recent months, and was a hotly-debated theme during the campaign for the capital’s mayoralty in May.
Separately, a 13-year-old boy was being questioned after being arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murder of a 17-year-old youth who was shot dead last week as he went for a haircut in Sheffield.