Police apologise to Anichebe
Everton striker Victor Anichebe has received an apology from police after being confronted outside a jewellers.
Last Updated: 12/03/09 9:21pm
Everton striker Victor Anichebe has received an apology from police after they swooped to aggressively confront him outside a jewellers.
Anichebe, 20, was window shopping with a friend when officers approached the pair following a report from CCTV operators who branded the pair suspicious. The striker's friend was soon handcuffed as scenes turned ugly.
A Cheshire Police spokesman said: "It is only right and proper that the police act expeditiously in protecting vulnerable premises such as jewellery shops.
"We seek in all cases to ask for co-operation from the public in respect of not only reporting suspicious activity in or around such areas, but also their co-operation if an officer feels it is necessary and appropriate to make enquiries into such matters.
"Having now reviewed in detail what occurred between the officers and the two men whom they believed to have been acting suspiciously, it is now apparent that, while the situation was heated, the actions of the police officer in applying handcuffs to one of the men was less than a proportionate reaction to the requirements of the situation.
"The officer has been advised regarding this, and an offer of apology extended to the two men."
Earlier today, Everton spokesman Ian Ross said the player - wearing a leg cast when he was detained - was distressed but happy to let the matter drop once an apology was made.
However, having considered the police's response, Anichebe has released another statement.
"Whilst I do fully understand Cheshire Police's desire to tackle the problem of robberies on jewellery shops in the Knutsford area, I remain deeply upset and very angry about the treatment which was meted out to myself and a friend.
"We were doing no more than window-shopping when we found ourselves surrounded by police officers who accused us of attempting to steal watches.
"Sadly, even when I explained who I was and what I was doing, they continued to treat both of us as not just suspects but as criminals."
The footballer added: "It was not only totally ridiculous but also highly embarrassing and totally humiliating.
"Simply because we stood our ground and insisted that we had done absolutely nothing wrong, they decided to place my friend in handcuffs.
"I am currently having to use crutches to walk as I recently underwent surgery on a knee injury and - astonishingly - one of the officers even tried to grab the crutches in order to prevent me from 'escaping'.
"After what seemed like an eternity the police officers seemed to realise that they had made a mistake, acknowledging that I was a footballer with a Premiership club and not someone who was preparing to commit a crime.
"At the time, I asked the officers if they would have taken the action they did had I been white rather than black.
"Whilst I do not wish to turn this unfortunate and unnecessary incident into a race issue, I believe it is a question which does need to be asked.
"I am pro-police - always have been and always will be. However, on this occasion they clearly got things badly wrong."
Anichebe said he welcomed the force's apology but said it did not go far enough.
He said: "We do not feel it constitutes the unreserved apology we were seeking and which we believe is justified under the circumstances."