Mayhem broke out in a Cardiff suburb on Monday evening as rioters attacked police and torched cars following the alleged police involvement in the death of two teenage boys in an electric bike crash.
In the wake of the death of two boys, named as Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and Harvey Evans, 15, rumours began to swirl in the Ely suburb of the Welsh capital of Cardiff that police were involved in a pursuit that resulted in their deaths.
Initially, local law enforcement authorities said that the claim was false, with South Wales Police stating that officers only arrived on the scene after the fatal crash.
Police and crime commissioner Alun Michael said: “There were also unfounded rumours of a police chase which was not the case and it just shows how particularly with things going around on social media which may have very little connection with the truth things can escalate very rapidly.”
However, CCTV footage has since reportedly refuted the original police line. Footage reported by the Daily Mail appeared to show a police van following the teens, who appeared to be riding an electric bicycle, just moments before the tragic crash. South Wales Police Chief Superintendent Martyn Stone said that CCTV would “form part of the investigation” and called on the public to come forward with any additional footage of the incident.
Police have faced "large-scale disorder" following a "serious" traffic collision in Cardiff.
Officers were called to the scene of the crash in Ely just after 6pm on Monday, with rioters still on the streets nine hours later.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) May 23, 2023
The deaths quickly sparked outrage throughout the local community, who squared off with police for hours amid tense rioting that left 15 officers injured, including 11 who needed to be hospitalised, according to The Guardian.
Garbage cans were set ablaze by the rioters, which consisted heavily of youths, many of whom were wearing masks. They went on to attack police officers with fireworks and other makeshift missiles.
At least two cars were set on fire during the chaos, which lasted until the early hours of the morning on Tuesday. Several police cars were also damaged in the riot.
A member of the public was even targeted by the rioters, who falsely took him for an undercover cop. According to witnesses, he was shoved to the ground and kicked as he shouted: “I’m not a fed!”.
A local woman, Jane Palmer, was forced to watch helplessly from the window of her home as rioters set her car on fire.
“I’m disabled so now I’m trapped without my car. Why are they doing this? It’s just silly now,” she said.
Another woman said on Tuesday that the area looked like a “war zone” in the aftermath of the riot, according to the Daily Mail.
Commenting on the destruction, a Downing Street spokesman said that the actions were “appalling and completely unacceptable”, adding: “We remain grateful to the emergency services and first responders for all their support to the community and restoring order.”
Police Assistant Chief Constable Mark Travis said: “First and foremost our thoughts are with families of the two boys who have died following the collision in Ely and with those affected by the disorder which followed. These are scenes we do not expect to see in our communities, particularly a close-knit community such as Ely.”
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