Craig Small killing: police officers under investigation over sharing of CCTV film

Maya Wolfe-RobinsonWed, 10 February 2021, 6:00 am

Two Metropolitan police officers are under criminal investigation for allegedly filming and sharing CCTV evidence of the moment a man was murdered, the Guardian has learned.

Carol Campbell said that the video of the murder of her son, Craig Small, being uploaded to social media has compounded her trauma.

Carol Campbell near her home in Wembley.
Carol Campbell near her home in Wembley. Photograph: Sarah Lee/The Guardian

Small, 32, was shot dead outside a shop in Wembley, London on 5 July 2019. He later died in hospital. The moment was caught on the CCTV of a nearby fast food outlet. Days later, his family discovered that a video was circulating on social media of the moment Small was killed.

Campbell said the police initially claimed that a shop may have leaked the CCTV footage, but it later emerged that an officer had allegedly filmed the CCTV evidence in the police station on a mobile phone. Laughter can be heard in the background of the recording, according to Campbell. The video was shared and uploaded on to social media sites. The graphic footage shows Small being shot in the head, and then again once he had fallen to the ground.

A police constable was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a public office on 16 July 2019 and a sergeant from the same unit was interviewed under criminal caution. Both have been placed on restricted duties and have been served with notices informing them that they are under investigation for gross misconduct.

Campbell said that watching the moment her son was murdered has given her nightmares and sleepless nights. “I’m an emotional wreck”, she said. It has also had a devastating impact on her family, including Small’s three young children. One of his sons, seven years old at the time, unwittingly stumbled across the video after typing his late father’s name into YouTube.

While Campbell has been satisfied with the way the police have conducted the investigation into her son’s killing, she views the alleged filming and sharing of the video as a malicious act. “It wasn’t calling for any witnesses”, she said.

“It was so unfair, my son mattered. It shouldn’t have been like this.”

Campbell said she arrived on the scene shortly after Small was shot, but was prevented from seeing him before he died. Although her son was the victim of a crime, she feels the family were treated with suspicion and disrespect, threatening her with arrest at the hospital if she did not quieten down. She said she saw police officers going into the room where Small was being treated and emerging laughing.

“I’m a calm person, I just want to know – is he alive, or is my son dead, because the way the police officer was taking it, it was like it was a joke,” she said.

She said she believes that if she had been a white mother that day, “a police officer would have took me in hand, they would have carried me themselves to the hospital. I wouldn’t have had to go through what I went through. I was a nobody.”

The Metropolitan police said they had not received a complaint in relation to the police’s response to Small’s murder or events immediately thereafter but have written to the family inviting them to add that to the investigation.

Terence Channer, the family’s solicitor, said that the release of the footage piled additional heartache on Small’s family when they were looking to the police for support.

“There appears to have been a clear and extremely disturbing abuse of police powers, at a time when my client and her family were mourning the tragic death of her son”, he said.

“We now look forward to those responsible … being held fully accountable.”

Small was a music producer and rapper, also known as Smallz. Campbell described her son as homely and humble, someone who “didn’t take the mick out of his aunties” and whose presence would “light up a room”.

Small’s family have been waiting for the outcome of the investigation into the officers’ conduct since July 2019. It was originally referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which then referred it to the Met’s directorate of professional standards (DPS). Seven other officers have been interviewed and served with notices informing them that they are under investigation for misconduct and gross misconduct.

In a letter to the family, the DPS said it viewed the matter as “a key investigation, not only in terms of the significant additional upset to you as a family but also because of the wider trust and community confidence issues the MPS faces in respect of the handling of public data and the negative impact this and other incidents have had on London communities”.

A spokesperson for the Met said that specialist family liaison officers have been working to support Small’s family since his murder and have treated the allegations seriously, committing to a full and transparent investigation. “We understand that these allegations have been an additional source of distress for them at an already difficult time”.

“This is a complex criminal investigation and we are making extensive enquiries. It is only right, given the severity of the allegations, that we are thorough in our approach”.

Four men have been arrested in relation to Small’s murder. The trial is due to take place next year.