London Police Compensate Women Arrested During 2021 Vigil

    London Police Compensate Women Arrested During 2021 Vigil
    Last updated Sep 14, 2023
    Image credit: Wikimedia Commons


    • According to their lawyers, the London police on Thursday apologized and paid "substantial damages" to the two women arrested at a vigil in honor of Sarah Everard. Everard was raped and murdered by a serving officer.
    • The Metropolitan Police (Met) detained Patsy Stevenson and Dania Al-Obeid, who attended the vigil on Clapham Common in March 2021 despite it being canceled due to threats of £10k (about $12.4K) in fines for violating pandemic restrictions.
    • In the wake of the Met's actions, which an independent watchdog ruled were appropriate, images of Stevenson being restrained and handcuffed by police circulated globally — prompting widespread condemnation of aggressive policing.
    • When asked about the incident, which also involved clashes between police and attendees, Ms. Al-Obeid said she was trapped because she "was up against a railing, behind me were 20-odd police officers, and in front of me were hundreds of people with their phones."
    • Multiple lawsuits were then filed by both protesters and the organizers of the event. The prosecution of six protesters accused by the Met of breaking lockdown rules was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service. Two High Court judges also ruled in favor of the organizers.
    • In letters to the women, Met Commander Karen Findlay said she "fully acknowledge[s] that your motivations in attending the vigil were to express your grief and anger regarding the circumstances of the tragic murder," adding that the COVID pandemic "presented an extremely difficult challenge" for police that day.


    Left narrative

    Not only did the Met violate the rights of Stevenson and Al-Obeid to protect and mourn the rape and death of Sarah Everard, but they convicted Ms. Al-Obeid behind closed doors without telling her. London's police may have repented for their egregious actions on this particular night, but the issue of these unaccountable cops is far from solved and must be scrutinized more now than ever.

    Right narrative

    London's police officers were wrong to break up normal civil protests under the guise of public health laws, but that doesn't mean the Met should be ridiculed more broadly. Today, protest groups like Just Stop Oil are actually endangering the public by blocking traffic and disrupting regular Britons' daily lives. In this regard, officers should be given more authority to remove these nuisances from the street.

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