girl who was paid substantial damages after being arrested at a vigil for Sarah Everard has vowed to proceed to “converse up about police abuse” regardless of receiving loss of life threats.
Patsy Stevenson and Dania Al-Obeid had been among the many protesters held on the Clapham Widespread vigil for Ms Everard, who was raped and murdered by a serving Metropolitan Police officer in March 2021, when Covid restrictions on massive gatherings had been in place.
A picture of Ms Stevenson being pinned down by officers and dragged away was seen all over the world.
The ladies have now been paid compensation by the Met after it acknowledged that even throughout Covid their “basic proper to protest remained”. However Ms Stevenson, from Egham, Surrey, stated the expertise had scarred her for all times.
She instructed BBC Radio 4’s At this time programme: “I don’t suppose individuals realise how powerful authorized battles are. There are hurdles each step of the way in which, there’s hate, I’ve had loss of life threats.”
Ms Stevenson stated she solely went to “mourn for a girl who was murdered by a police officer”, including: “I nonetheless have nightmares of it. I do know different individuals have confronted worse police brutality however for me that was my expertise.”
She stated the Met’s apology was welcome however vowed to proceed to “converse up about police abuse” and struggle for higher policing of violence in opposition to ladies and ladies. The Met was criticised for its heavy dealing with of the later levels of the gathering, with outrage that some ladies had been bundled to the bottom, and its “tone-deaf” response to the damaging response within the aftermath.
Ms Stevenson stated she felt that Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley was solely “paying lip service” to these calling for reform following a sequence of scandals and allegations of institutional sexism, racism and homophobia.
The Clapham occasion was initially deliberate by marketing campaign group Reclaim These Streets (RTS), which cancelled after Met officers threatened organisers with £10,000 fines below the lockdown guidelines in place on the time. However members of the general public attended anyway, with no police intervention for round six hours earlier than clashes occurred.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan stated: “Within the wake of such a horrendous crime, the policing of the vigil — held in her reminiscence — additional eroded belief. I used to be very clear with the Met on the time, that the scenes we noticed had been fully unacceptable. They had been one of many causes I misplaced confidence within the former Commissioner [Dame Cressida Dick].”
Commander Karen Findlay wrote in letters to each ladies: “I admire the anger, frustration and alarm your arrest undoubtedly prompted you, exacerbated by the following proceedings, and I remorse that your alternative to precise your grief and anger [over the death of Ms Everard] was curtailed by your arrest and elimination.”
A authorized battle rumbled on lengthy after the vigil with the RTS organisers efficiently arguing that their proper to protest had been breached by the Met.
Ms Al-Obeid stated: “I’ve discovered this journey extremely troublesome however crucial as a survivor of home violence and somebody who has been failed by the police in that context.
“I admire that the Met Police have acknowledged our motivations for attending it however ‘badly let down’ is an understatement. I’ve felt abused, deserted by the police previous to, throughout and submit the vigil — I don’t really feel protected or secure with any police pressure.”
A Scotland Yard spokesman stated: “The actions of particular person officers had been discovered by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies to have been applicable.
“They acted in good religion, deciphering complicated and altering laws in very difficult circumstances in a manner that was fully in keeping with their colleagues working throughout London on the time.
“A protracted authorized dispute just isn’t within the pursuits of any celebration, least of all of the complainants who we recognise have already skilled important misery on account of this incident. Essentially the most applicable resolution, to minimise the continuing influence on all concerned, was to succeed in an agreed settlement.”
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