Eight police officers investigated after alleged assault on black female student

By Jacob Paul

Eight police officers are under investigation after an alleged assault on a black female student.

The student, who is in her mid-20s, said she was later strip-searched in the presence of male officers and assaulted again in custody in Lewisham on May 9.

Footage surfaced on social media showing the officers using force to restrain her, and she was heard shouting “I can’t breathe”.

She said she was in her friend’s car when the police pulled over the vehicle and dragged her into the street.

“I just remember things turning like they looked a bit radioactive” she told BBC Newsnight.

“They then picked me up with my hair, with my braids which they eventually tore out of my scalp.

“I knew that I was losing consciousness and I had to beg to God that this will not be the last place.

“This will not be the last place that my father will hear about me. He cannot be watching this and seeing that these are the last words said by his daughter.”

The police took her into custody at Lewisham Police station and charged her with obstructing a drugs search, but this was later dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.

She said she was strip-searched and assaulted again by the officers.

“Even though I had offered several times to take off my clothes they literally stripped me naked.

“The same officer that had his knee buried into my neck came back while I was fully unclothed and there were other male officers holding parts of my body.

“I was pinned down again, I’ll say about five, six, seven officers. I couldn’t breathe. I kept begging them to stop” she told Newsnight.

The incident is being investigated by the Independent Office for Police conduct.

They said: “We have recovered CCTV footage, body-worn video footage, the footage shared online and have taken statements from several witnesses.

“We are examining the circumstances of the woman’s arrest and the use of force on her. Our investigation is also looking at the woman’s subsequent treatment in custody.

“Eight officers have been served with notices advising them they are subject to investigation, with six officers at misconduct level and two officers at gross misconduct level.”

Rob Atkin, Commander of the Met’s South East BCU, said: “All police officers are fully aware that they will be asked to account for their actions. Officers are not exempt from the law, and nor would we wish to be.

“The Met continues to co-operate with the IOPC’s investigation team to ensure that all the facts are established.

“It is always distressing to be detained using force or to see a person being detained using force, as it goes against the very concept of policing by consent.”

In a statement, the IOPC said: “So far, we have recovered CCTV footage, body-worn video footage, the footage shared online and have taken statements from several witnesses.

“We are examining the circumstances of the woman’s arrest and the use of force on her. Our investigation is also looking at the woman’s subsequent treatment in custody.

“It should be noted that the serving of a (disciplinary) notice in no way indicates disciplinary proceedings will necessarily follow.

“To uphold public confidence in the police complaints system, we are investigating the use of stop and search tactics in this incident and whether the actions of those officers were appropriate and proportionate and followed approved police policies.

“We are also investigating if racial profiling or discrimination played a part in the incident.”


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