Met Police chief under pressure to explain police actions at Sarah Everard vigil

The city police chief is under intense pressure to explain the actions of her officers during a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard.

Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick faces resignation following clashes between police and crowds who gathered in Clapham Common on Saturday night to remember the 33-year-old.

City police officers were seen grabbing several women and handcuffing them away.

The force later said four people were arrested for violating public order and coronavirus regulations.

But the surveillance of the vigil, which revolved around a bandstand covered with flowers left as a tribute, was condemned.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has called for a full account of the events – and called the scenes “disturbing”.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey called on Dame Cressida to resign, while Women’s Equality Party’s co-founder Catherine Mayer said her position was “untenable”.

Home Secretary Victoria Atkins said she took the events “very seriously” but wanted to give the Commissioner “a chance to explain” what happened.

She told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, “I really, really want to support the Home Secretary in her request for a report from Cressida.

“It is difficult for the police to monitor the coronavirus pandemic more generally at the moment.”

She added: “I think this morning, given the difficulty of last night, after an incredibly exciting week, I am very keen that we do not anticipate this report and give the Met Commissioner the opportunity to explain what is happened last night. “

Labor has not asked Dame Cressida to resign and Jess Phillips, Minister for Domestic Violence in the Shadows, said, “The reality is, if Cressida Dick stays or leaves, women in this country will not be safer and that’s what I want to talk about.”

She said there were “so many missed opportunities for the police to work with organizers to create a completely safe vigil for people to experience a moment of sadness and a moment of resistance”.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, Deputy Commissioner Helen Ball said the police had been placed in a position “where enforcement action was required”.

She said: “Hundreds of people were packed tightly together which is a very real risk for easy transmission of Covid-19.

“The police have to act for people’s safety, that is the only responsible thing. The pandemic is not over yet and gatherings of people from all over London and beyond are still unsafe.

“Those who gathered were approached by officials several times over a long period of time. We have repeatedly encouraged those who have been there to obey the law and leave. Unfortunately, a small minority of people began singing officers, pushing and throwing objects. “

The assembled crowd sang “Shame on you” as the police led people away to the vigil, while during another confrontation a desperate woman was heard telling the officers, “You should protect us.”

A video from the PA news agency showed a woman being forcibly shoved in the back by two officers after she was lifted from her knees.

The woman, who has not yet been identified, then tries to bend down near the officers and is pushed back again. You can hear her screaming that she is trying to get her glasses back.

Reclaim These Streets had organized the vigil before it had to be canceled after consulting the Metropolitan Police as it would violate coronavirus restrictions.

After the clashes, organizer Jamie Klingler said the troops’ handling of events was a sign of the “systematic ignoring and oppression of women”.

“I think we were shocked and very, very sad and saw videos of police officers treating women at a vigil over violence against women by men. I think it was painful and quite triggering to see this,” Ms. Klingler said on Across the street from the PA News Agency tomorrow after officers were seen fighting with some of those present.

“The fact that no one stepped in and said, ‘You see what that looks like? ‘The fact that on Thursday and Friday they wasted our organizing time dragging us to the High Court to protest our human rights and we would have a silent vigil.

“Especially today is Mother’s Day. It is the week of International Women’s Day. And instead of allowing and allowing it, as the Lambeth police wanted – and these police were so supportive – Scotland Yard knocked us down and silenced us and.” get the reaction they got last night. “

Hundreds of people gathered in the park in south London despite an official vigil canceled earlier in the day due to police warnings about coronavirus restrictions.

Vigils were also held in places like Glasgow, Nottingham, Birmingham and Bristol.

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