They Were Arrested at Sarah Everard Vigil. Now, an Apology

Metropolitan Police to pay 'substantial damages' to 2 women who were mourning murdered UK woman
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2021 7:40 AM CDT
Updated Sep 14, 2023 10:50 AM CDT
Cops Shut Down Peaceful Vigil for Sarah Everard
People talk to police as they gather at the bandstand on Clapham Common   (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)
UPDATE Sep 14, 2023 10:50 AM CDT

Just days after the body of Sarah Everard, murdered by a police officer now serving a life sentence, was found in Kent, England, in March 2021, mourners were detained at a London vigil in her memory. Now, police there are apologizing for how two protesters in particular were treated, with "substantial damages" to be paid to them, reports Reuters. "I regret that your opportunity to express your grief and anger was curtailed by your arrest and removal," Karen Findlay, commander for the Metropolitan Police, wrote to Patsy Stevenson and Dania Al-Obeid, per the AP. Pics of Stevenson being pinned down by cops during the vigil "became the enduring image of the incident," per Reuters. Stevenson noted after the settlement announcement that it had been "important to push for some form of accountability and justice," per the AP. Al-Obeid's take: "I do not feel protected or safe with any police force."

Mar 14, 2021 7:40 AM CDT

Police clashed with mourners Saturday at a vigil attended by thousands for a woman who was allegedly kidnapped and murdered by one of their own. At a spot in South London's Clapham Common near where 33-year-old Sarah Everard is believed to have been snatched from the roadside while walking home the night of March 3, peaceful mourners were dragged away, and some handcuffed, after police say they were acting in violation of coronavirus regulations, per CNN. Outrage over the show of force comes just days after Wayne Couzens, a London police officer, was arrested in Everard's murder—including from politicians like Home Secretary Priti Patel, who called footage from the vigil "upsetting" in a tweet.

Per the Evening Standard, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he's "urgently seeking an explanation" amid accusations that male officers at the vigil were "manhandling" some female mourners. In a statement, Metropolitan Police Service Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball defended officers' actions, saying they "were placed in this position because of the overriding need to protect people's safety." Police said four arrests were made in total. Per the AP, 48-year-old Couzens appeared in court Saturday for the first time and was remanded in custody and has another appearance scheduled Tuesday at London's Central Criminal Court. (More London stories.)

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