Metropolitan Police officers have justified their heavy-handed crackdown under Covid lockdown rules at a Clapham Common vigil held for Sarah Everard by claiming that the gathering was morphing into an “anti-police protest”. MailOnline has more.
Scotland Yard is prosecuting six people they claim broke Covid lockdown rules at the vigil on March 13th last year, when hundreds assembled at the bandstand in the South London park following Miss Everard’s kidnapping, rape and murder by ‘evil’ Met cop Wayne Couzens.
The event had originally been organised by Reclaim These Streets, who cancelled it after the Met said it should not go ahead, and no definitive answer on the matter was provided by the High Court.
But people turned up throughout the day, and officers did not intervene for the first six hours while many came to lay flowers, with the Duchess of Cambridge also paying her respects.
It has now emerged that police have defended their widely condemned actions, saying that they faced resistance when they tried to break up the gathering using draconian Covid powers.
Witness statements given in Westminster Magistrates’ Court reveal that the Met officers feared being attacked by the attendees and were apparently branded “murderers” by some in the crowd.
According to PC Alexander Davis: “The mood of the crowd had also shifted from showing respect to Sarah Everard to anti-police protest. Over the course of the early evening the crowd size of the vigil increased to the 1,000 strong members and it quickly became an anti-police demonstration.”
The Standard reports that he said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist gave the order at around 7pm for the crackdown to begin, including arrests of women who were standing by the bandstand.
PC Darryl Mayne said in a witness statement that attendees shouted “go away”, “murderers” and “arrest your own” as the scene turned sour.
And in his statement to the court, Inspector Dave Laurie said: “I remember feeling sad that what started out as a vigil with people adhering to the coronavirus regulations had changed significantly and that I wasn’t convinced people were there to solely pay their respects in remembrance of Sarah Everard, and that they did not intend to leave the area any time soon.”
Hang on, aren’t police supposed to kneel before anti-police protestors these days? Or is it assault women protesting against police assaulting women? Hard to keep up with 21st century policing.
Worth reading in full.