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Man forced to wear spit hood has police caution revoked

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Police put spit hood over man’s head at London Bridge

A young man who was pinned to the ground by police and forced to wear a spit hood has had his caution quashed, his solicitor has said.

Ik Aihie, 20, was arrested at London Bridge station in July 2016. The arrest sparked controversy after video shot by a bystander showed Aihie screaming as officers pinned him face down on the ground and put a spit hood over his head.

His girlfriend, Jessica McConkey, said in the video the couple were having an argument when the police arrested him. The British Transport police (BTP) said Aihie had become aggressive when officers intervened and had threatened to spit at them.

Aihie was detained overnight and cautioned under the Public Order Act. He later instructed solicitors to challenge the caution in the high court on the grounds that it was unlawful and unjustified. The case was due to be heard shortly but the BTP has now revoked the caution, Aihie’s solicitor, Shamik Dutta, told the Guardian.

Aihie said: “I am delighted that the caution has been quashed so I can start to move on with my life; justice has prevailed. I’m grateful for the support I have received from everyone who knows me, members of the public and my legal team during these difficult months.”

Dutta, of Bhatt Murphy solicitors, said: “A formal caution is a serious matter; it can prevent someone from gaining employment and travelling to certain countries. This caution should never have been issued and so it is only right that in the face of legal proceedings it has now been quashed.”

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the arrest after a complaint by Aihie and McConkey that excessive force had been used in the arrest and that he had not been told the grounds for his arrest until he arrived at the police station.

The Guardian has contacted the BTP for comment.