A Brixton neuroscientist said he is ‘overwhelmed’ by the donations made to a crowdfunder to replace his front door after it was broken down by police.
Yusuf Daniju was at home watching a film on at 7.30pm on Thursday when police entered his property looking for a family friend who had been staying there.
The crowdfunding page to raise the money to replace the door, which was no longer properly closing, meaning he could not leave the house, was reached by Sunday.
Daniju (pictured above) said: “I am overwhelmed with the level of support but still find the whole situation very surreal even up to now.
“I always believe that overall people are generally kind and good when given the opportunity and this has shown this.”
Police had visited the property earlier in the day to locate Mo Marou, who had been recalled to prison for a breach of his probation conditions.
When they came back in the evening, Daniju said police behaved as if he was Marou, without first attempting to identify who he was.
Daniju said: “I said ‘I’m not Mo, I’m Yusuf, I’ve got ID’. They start shouting ‘stop resisting, stop resisting, stop resisting’, they grabbed my arms.
“They don’t come in saying are you Mo, have you got ID? They’re just all guns blazing, straight away. One of them is kneeing my leg.
“He’s twisting up my arm and then they look in the rest of the house and see Mo and they take him out.”
On the police’s morning visit the same day, Marou had escaped out of a window before police entered the flat. In a video seen by SWL, police said to Daniju that ‘next time we come, potentially your door might not be knocked on’.
Police took Marou from the property, and on leaving, Daniju was told they did not have to replace the door because he had not opened it to them. Police guidelines state that they ‘are required to ensure that the premises are secure when they leave‘, which can include the occupant being home.
Daniju said: “I feel like if I was a fifty-year-old white male then the situation would have been different. I don’t think the situation would be the same.
“I don’t think they would necessarily come in, even in the morning, with such aggression. I do feel that.”
Daniju, who was awarded his PhD in cognitive neuroscience from the University of Roehampton in December, said: “It’s just a bit embarrassing, it’s not really what you want to be doing.
“A few people have offered help in terms of solicitors. Even when my friend was going to put the fundraising page together, I was like I’ve just finished my PhD, I’m looking for work, I don’t want it to be a thing.
“You always get naysayers and people who are like ‘Why didn’t you just open the door then’?”
Daniju believes the police response was not in proportion to the situation. As far as he is aware from conversations with Marou, he has been recalled to prison because of a breakdown in communication over where he was staying, and not because any further crimes have been committed.
The Ministry of Justice is unable to comment on an individual’s licence conditions.
He said: “The whole approach should be proportional. But there is no sense of proportion. That is the worrying thing. The police don’t feel like they need to have any sense of proportionality. It’s fine to come in here and knee me.”
In a statement, the Met Police said: “Police carried out a prison recall arrest enquiry at an address in Denmark Road, SE5, shortly before 09.30hrs on Thursday, 11 February.
“The door was answered by a man who stated to officers that the wanted man was present.
“The door was opened, but on a chain, and the man was given the opportunity to get the wanted man to come to the door.
“The door was fully opened a short while later, by which point the wanted man had absconded through a bedroom window.
“Police attended shortly before 19.00hrs later the same day and the wanted man, aged 21, was arrested for breach of his licence conditions. He has been recalled to prison.”