Sarah Everard vigil: Woman ‘dragged’ by police speaks out

A woman has slammed the Metropolitan Police for “throwing her to the floor” during a vigil for Sarah Everard.

Patsy Stevenson, 28, was arrested during the vigil for Sarah Everard, in Clapham Common last night.

She joined hundreds of others to mark the memory of Ms Everard, whose body was found earlier this week in Kent after she went missing when walking home from a friend’s house in Clapham.

While the vigil in Clapham was largely peaceful, scuffles broke out at the front of a crowd of hundreds as police surrounded a bandstand covered in floral tributes to the 33-year-old.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police were seen grabbing several women and leading them away in handcuffs.

Dramatic pictures showed a masked Ms Stevenson being held on the ground by two officers as she is handcuffed behind her back, before being led away.

Speaking to socialist news website Counterfire.org shortly after the incident, Ms Stevenson said: “First of all, I came here to support any woman who cannot walk down the street by themselves because of the fear of men.

“And it’s not all men, we know that that’s not what we are saying, but there needs to be a change.

“The fact that the police turned up was just disgraceful. Just before then it was a peaceful protest.

This Is Local London: Pic: Counterfire.orgPic: Counterfire.org

“I was arrested by police for standing there, I wasn’t’ doing anything, they threw me to the floor, they have pictures of me being arrested on the floor and I’m five foot two and I weight nothing. Several police were on my back trying to arrest me.

“They arrested me in cuffs, dragged me away, surrounded by like ten police officers, and when I got in the van, they said we just need your name and address and then we will let you go with a fine.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel and London mayor Sadiq Khan have since called for an independent investigation into the Metropolitan Police’s actions at the vigil.

Ms Patel asked the Chief Inspector of Constabulary to conduct a “lessons learned” review following the scenes on Clapham Common.

The Home Secretary spoke with the under-fire Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick on Sunday, having received her report into the events on Saturday night.

A person holds up a placard addressing Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick amongst a crowd of people holding placards in Parliament Square

A person holds up a placard addressing Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick amongst a crowd of people holding placards in Parliament Square

But “in the interest of confidence in policing,” Ms Patel asked Sir Thomas Winsor to conduct an independent review into what happened, a Government source told the PA news agency.

It came as Mr Khan said he is not “satisfied” with the explanation they have provided.

After the clashes, organiser Jamie Klingler said the force’s handling of events was a sign of the “systemic ignoring and oppressing of women”.

Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said he would bring together police chiefs on Monday to discuss “what more we can do to better protect women”.

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