In a shocking display of apathy, the Metropolitan Police manhandled and roughed up women who had gathered at a vigil for Sarah Everard. This is doubly shocking given how Everard was allegedly killed by a police officer!
Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive went missing on the evening of March 3 while on her way back home from a friend’s home near Clapham Common in South London. On March 9, Wayne Couzens, a Metropolitan Police officer was arrested in Kent in connection with her kidnapping. Then on March 10, Everard’s remains were found in a woodland near Ashford in Kent. Couzens has now been charged with Everard’s kidnapping and murder.
Women protesters had gathered at a vigil for Everard at Clapham Common on March 13, and were protesting peacefully. Many had even laid down flowers, as if at a shrine. Many others chanted anti-police slogans, enraged, that a woman walking back home was victimized by a person expected to protect and defend her.
But then police cracked down on them with shocking brutality! Videos and images quickly went viral on social media, especially this video shot by independent journalist who uses the Twitter handle @subjectaccess:
One red-haired protester, later identified as Patsy Stevenson, was tackled to the ground by male police officers in a particularly violent manner. Pictures, particularly one taken by Jack Hill from The Times, and videos of this soon went viral, sparking further outrage!
Later, the group Reclaim the Streets, which was one of the organizers of the vigil, released a statement saying that the Police failed to work with them despite a High Court ruling that a vigil could take place lawfully.
Many even called for the police chief’s resignation:
But, Commissioner Cressida Dick, said she had no intention of resigning. She further said, “If it had been lawful, I would have been there. I would have been at the vigil.” This once again questions the legitimacy of the vigil itself.
Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan issued a statement condemning the policing of the vigil as “completely unacceptable”. He went on to say, “I received assurances from the Metropolitan Police that the vigil would be policed sensitively. In my view, that was not the case.” Mayor Khan said he was not satisfied by the explanation provided by the police for their actions.
*Feature image from Twitter account of Sisters Uncut, one of the organizers of the vigil.