Traumatised singer punched by undercover cops he mistook for gang, he claims

A singer has been left traumatised after undercover police officers allegedly stormed his car and beat him after a gig.

James Kennedy claims he thought he was being mugged on Wednesday, November 23, after he pulled over to the side of a road to check for directions.

It was not until the 42-year-old was in a Cardiff police station that he believed a group of non-uniformed men were who they said they were.

James told the Daily Star that he is appealing to South Wales Police for an investigation into his terrifying arrest and subsequent "humiliating" strip search.

James claims: "Within seconds of parking up and beginning to type on my phone, my car was rapidly intruded by three men one who got into my car via the passenger seat and grabbed my left arm and twisted it behind the drivers seat and the other two who opened the driver door, took my car keys and grabbed my right hand."

The performer from Caerphilly had played a gig at Brewhouse in St Mary Street where he says he set off from at around 8.45pm but flooding blocked his usual route.

James parked in Alfreda Road at around 9.10pm and picked up his phone to let his partner know he would be late home, which is when his alleged nightmare began.

According to the musician, three civilian dressed men in black clothes entered his vehicle "at the same time and with such speed" that he "didn't even see them coming".

James said: "I remember the officer who was restraining my right arm saying that they were police but I didn't believe him because they were dressed in hoodies and had a regular car parked next to mine, not a police car…

"Their intrusion into my car was also incredibly intimidating and aggressive and it felt much more likely to me that this was a group of three men who were robbing me."

He continued: "I was still clutching my phone in my left hand despite my left arm being bent around the back of my driver's chair by the man in the passenger seat, who then punched me in the side of my face.

"This action of course shocked me into dropping my phone, which he then quickly picked up. It became apparent to me that these men now had my phone and my car keys and that I was essentially being bullied into giving them my possessions. So I started screaming for help."

James eventually exited his car and was handcuffed and seated without his phone and car keys, in a "regular, non-police car" he claims.

He added: "They said again that they were police and that I was being taken for a full-body strip search for possession of drugs. This again was an unfathomable notion to me as a boring, middle-aged, professional man who doesn’t use drugs.

"I'm a clean-living guy who wouldn't even know where to get hold of drugs so this seemed like a ridiculous lie to me and I was generally terrified as to what these men now wanted with me. Only when we were at the police station did I begin to calm down."

Now, he is after answers from South Wales Police whose officers, he claims have impacted him even more mentally than the physical bruising he alleges to have suffered during a stop and search.

James said he began to calm down once he arrived at Fairwater police station where he claims to have squatted "without shoes, socks, trousers, or underwear and cough" in a "degrading" strip search.

He says no drugs were found on him and he was allowed to leave after around half an hour in the station. He received no apology, paperwork, or explanation for the officers' alleged behaviour, he claims.

James claims: "As the three officers walked me to my car one of them joked that I 'must have taken a good five punches' earlier on."

James told the Daily Star: "It's the mental trauma that's the main problem I'm dealing with. I'm scared to go out in the car, I keep checking the front door is locked, I'm keeping my curtains drawn, I'm finding it hard to focus and I've had difficulty sleeping."

Chief Superintendent Mark Lenihan, head of professional standards, told the Daily Star: “South Wales Police has recorded a complaint following a stop search conducted in the Whitchurch area of Cardiff on 23rd November.

"The force takes such allegations extremely seriously and the matter has been allocated to the Professional Standards Department for investigation.

"As the investigation is at an early stage, it would not be appropriate to comment on the circumstances of the stop search or the specific allegations being made.”

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