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Essex Police has made a voluntary referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct following an incident in Loughton on Saturday October 3.
While searching for the driver of a suspected cloned car, who had run off after being spotted nearby, officers detained a man whose clothes, it is claimed, matched those of the suspect.
When the man pulled away he was restrained and video footage has been circulating on social media.
Checks established that the man was not wanted in connection with the suspicious car and he was eventually allowed on his way.
The suspect linked to the suspicious car was arrested nearby moments later.
The circumstances surrounding the detention of the first man, including the use of handcuffs and incapacitant spray, are now subject of an ongoing investigation.
Assistant Chief Constable Andy Prophet said on Monday: “We were searching for someone who had run from a suspicious car after failing to stop for police. At that stage, our officers had a description of his clothing, but not of the man himself.
“They initially detained the wrong person and we’re taking steps to get in touch with him to offer our apologies for this case of mistaken identity.”