The mother of a Black boy who lost a finger “while running away from school bullies” is considering legal action after police dropped an investigation into the incident.
Raheem Bailey, then 11, was allegedly beaten by a group of children at a school in Wales in May 2022 and broke his finger as he climbed a fence to escape his tormentors. At the hospital, the doctors decided that the finger had to be amputated.
Gwent Police launched an investigation within days of the incident, however, after a nine-month investigation, the force decided that no further action would be taken. They found that Raheem had left the school “of his own free will” and that no one else had injured him.
Hi’s mother, Shantal Bailey, spoke out about the force’s decision through media reports.
She described the force’s suggestion that no one else was involved in the incident as a “complete insult”, and said she would raise her complaint to the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), and legal team considering civil action. .
“I am very disappointed by the police’s decision to take no further action in Raheem’s case. Although the police have indicated to me that this is the likely outcome, I think their statement makes it clear that they have accepted all other versions of events other than Raheem’s,” Mr Bailey said in a statement on Saturday.
“But this is the victim and he was left with a life-changing injury. My son is still traumatized by what happened to him and has a permanent physical reminder of the pain he endured that day.”
Speaking to The Independent Exclusively after the incident, Ms Bailey revealed her son had been subjected to “racial and physical abuse” since he started secondary school in Abertillery Learning Community, south Wales, in September 2021.
She said her son’s injury came after a “sustained campaign” of bullying at the school in the previous months and that previous experience had taught him that reporting it to a teacher would make no difference.
“It was never intended that Raheem chose to leave the school, however, he did this out of panic and desperation, which left him feeling like he had no choice but to leave the school grounds leave by any means necessary. .”
Following the police update, Blaenau Gwent Council said it would commission an independent review of the incident “to identify any lessons learned to help guide future incident management responses”.
Leigh Day, the law firm supporting the Bailey family, is filing a complaint with the IOPC and investigating a civil claim against the school for alleged negligence.
Solicitor Frances Swaine said: “We echo our client’s disappointment, not only at the conclusion the police have reached but at the way they have chosen to express this, which seems to place no blame on Raheem and insults everyone else.
“The confrontation that caused him to leave the school should be re-examined. Raheem was describing the bullying he had suffered for months but felt the school had done nothing to help him.
“While the council’s commitment to an independent inquiry is welcome, it is appalling that this was announced to the press before the family had been consulted. It is vital that any inquiry allows Shantal and Raheem to be fully involved.”
Gwent Police has been approached for comment.