A 14-year-old schoolboy has said he feared he “would die” after he was forced to the ground and handcuffed by police outside a tram station in Croydon. 

De-Shaun Joseph was stopped by police after officers said that he matched the description of a suspect in a nearby robbery. The officers—who were searching for a Black youth in a blue hoodie—handcuffed De-Shaun, who was wearing a grey top over his school uniform, and forced him face-down to the ground outside Blackhorse Road tram station in South London.

Fearing for his life, the teenager—who suffers from asthma—was able to shout his mother’s phone number to a passerby and she arrived at the scene to find her son in handcuffs.

Speaking to ITV News, Ms. Joseph said that she feared her son would be the next George Floyd. “It’s every parent’s worst nightmare,” she said. “It’s the same old story—every Black boy fits the description. There’s no excuse for what they did to my son and the excessive force they used on a 14-year-old Black boy.”

Police say the school pupil was thrown to the ground after he verbally abused officers and became obstructive. “Our officers patrol each day to prevent violence and seek out those who would do others harm,” Chief Inspector Richard Berns, from the Violent Crime Taskforce, said. “Officers were responding to reports of a robbery involving a young victim and had to conduct their ‘on the street’ investigation under very challenging circumstances after some onlookers began directing verbal abuse at them. All officers understand that their actions are subject to scrutiny.”

He added: “An initial review of the incident, including body-worn video, has been conducted by the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards and no misconduct is apparent. However, a public complaint has been made and will be investigated thoroughly by the professional standards unit.”