Hold police accountable for forceful interference at vigil.

by Patsy Stevenson

Hold police accountable for forceful interference at vigil.

by Patsy Stevenson
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Please support my legal claim against the Metropolitan Police to hold them accountable for their forceful interference at the vigil for Sarah Everard.

Intro 

I need your support in bringing claims against the Metropolitan Police. I am challenging the Metropolitan Police’s policing operation at the vigil for Sarah Everard in Clapham Common. I was forcibly removed from the Clapham Common bandstand, taken to the ground by a male police officer, handcuffed and arrested. Later on I was issued a Fixed Penalty Notice for attending the vigil.

I want to challenge the legality of this ill-treatment by the police, which other women were also subjected to.

The Vigil and My Arrest

Sarah Everard was murdered by a serving Metropolitan Police Officer. A Vigil had been organised by #ReclaimTheseStreets, however, they were forced to cancel the vigil after the Police took the position that it would have been in breach of Covid-19 regulations.

I attended the vigil at Clapham Common with a friend following Sarah’s death. I wanted to pay my respects and grieve with other women who felt impacted by this act of violence.

This case is not just about myself, it is for everyone who attended the vigil. This case is significant for those who have been made to feel that they should not be speaking up about violence against women and girls. For those who have had to deal with pressure from friends and family, and the police themselves, telling them they should not have attended. For those who have been made to feel as if they did the wrong thing for attending a peaceful vigil and showing their respects.

Many women and individuals attended the vigil for Sarah and several, including myself, were arrested. We all wanted to stand up for women everywhere. Women are being murdered just for being women. All we wanted was a space to collectively grieve and express anger, but this was denied to us. What we were met with were male officers who used physical force to suppress us. This case is also for the ones who cannot take theirs forward – whether it is because of the lack of availability of funding, because they are scared, or to protect themselves against reliving the trauma.

The High Court has already handed down a landmark ruling that the police breached the rights of those who originally tried to organise the vigil.  The High Court had also refused the police permission to appeal this decision as any appeal would not have a reasonable prospect of success and there is no other compelling reason for an appeal.

Why I need funding

Motivated by this landmark result, I am determined to see my case through to the end, not just for myself, but for others as well. The police have already tried to silence women, and unfortunately, funding a legal case is another barrier. Bringing a claim like this costs money and I need your help. My legal team have sent letters to the Metropolitan Police Service challenging the legality of my arrest and treatment. I am still fighting, but if the police continue to defend the claim, I will require funds to continue with my case. I will need to raise money to protect myself against the police seeking payment of their legal costs from me in the event that I lose the case at court, and to pay my legal team (who are working at reduced rates).

I am grateful for any donations of whatever you can afford. Your generosity will help in the fight to protect the right to protest and challenge the heavy handed actions of the police. I will keep you updated on any developments from my legal team on this page.

I really hope that this case will give others some courage to stand up for what they believe in and know that no matter how big the fight, no matter what title the police have, no matter how great the power imbalance. You can fight them. If someone abuses their power, they must be held accountable.

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