A South Norwood man has this week spoken of his horror at being falsely arrested, beaten and racially abused by New York Police Department (NYPD) who believed the tourist was a terrorist.

London-born Turkish Muslim Mehmet Mahmut, of Brooklyn Road, says he became a victim of the “terrorist paranoia” sweeping America when the British citizen was accused of being an Islamic fundamentalist.

Mehmet says he was chained up, scraped across the ground and accused of being an Iranian fanatic in the 28 hours he was held in NYPD custody.

The 41-year-old computer programmer has been on anxiety medication since his return from the US two weeks ago and has contacted New York’s Police complaints bureau. He is also planning to start criminal and civil action against the NYPD.

The couple’s five-day holiday turned sour when they were accused of evading a bus fare on their return from a shopping trip, despite having a credit card receipt for their tickets.

They then say three officers from the NYPD, which describes itself as “New York’s finest”, pushed Mehmet to the floor, cuffed him and scraped his face across the ground.

Mehmet’s partner, 37-year-old Rubina Latif, said: “When they cuffed Mehmet an officer walked up to me and said, ‘What makes you think scum like you can come to this country and evade fares?’ “I told him we had a credit card receipt for the bus tickets but he said, ‘you’re lying’ and arrested me too. We had spent more than £5,000 on our trip to New York, why would we try and evade a $35 bus fare?” The couple’s ordeal worsened when they were both taken to a police station. While Rubina was held in custody for two hours, Mehmet was held for a further 26 hours.

He said: “I was chained up and left alone for the first hour. They told me that if I took full responsibility for the incident then they would release Rubina, which I did. They kept asking me if I was from Iran, what religion I was and did I have any fanatical beliefs.

“I repeatedly told them I was a British national and showed them the credit card receipt for the bus tickets but they said it wasn’t good enough.

“I continuously felt that I was being provoked so if I reacted they would have justification to do what they wanted to me, so I just kept my calm.” Mehmet was held in custody until the next day when he was transported to a nearby courthouse. His case was dismissed by the judge as soon she saw his credit card receipt.

He added: “No apologies, no explanation. Nothing. I am so angry. They treated me like an animal just because of the colour of my skin and my name. Since 9/11 Americans have become terrorist paranoid. I will never return to that country again.” The NYPD were unable to comment as the Guardian went to press.