LONDON — The mayor of London and the British cupboard minister answerable for policing referred to as Sunday for an impartial inquiry into how town’s most important police pressure broke up a vigil for Sarah Everard, the 33-year-old advertising government whose killing has sparked a reckoning over violence towards ladies.
The demand for an investigation got here after pictures of officers clashing with ladies on the occasion prompted a widespread outcry.
The mayor, Sadiq Khan, stated that “scenes arising from the policing of the vigil,” which had been banned below coronavirus restrictions, “have been utterly unacceptable,” and that he was “not glad” with explanations from the 2 high officers within the pressure, the Metropolitan Police.
A spokesman for the Residence Workplace, the federal government division that oversees policing, confirmed on Sunday that Priti Patel, the house secretary, had requested the Inspectorate of Constabulary, a authorities physique that assesses police forces, for a report into what occurred on the vigil.
Mr. Khan stated in an announcement that he had sought a full inquiry from the identical physique, and that he was additionally asking one other regulator, the Unbiased Workplace for Police Conduct, to research the actions of officers on the vigil.
The calls for got here as a whole bunch of individuals marched in central London on Sunday towards police brutality and a invoice to offer the police extra powers to regulate protests.
Ladies’s rights activists and lawmakers referred to as the police actions heavy-handed and notably upsetting provided that the rally was staged to decry violence towards ladies — and that a Metropolitan Police officer has been charged with kidnapping and murdering Ms. Everard. She disappeared whereas strolling residence from a buddy’s home in Clapham on March 3.
Dame Cressida Dick, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, stated Sunday that she welcomed an impartial evaluation.
Commissioner Dick stated the primary six hours of the vigil had been “calm and peaceable,” with few officers round. However after an enormous crowd gathered, she stated, officers felt it had change into an “illegal gathering, which poses a substantial threat to folks’s well being.”
Activists had initially referred to as folks to attend the vigil, at Clapham Frequent in South London, on Saturday night close to the place Ms. Everard was final seen. However the police warned that the gathering was illegal, although folks congregated within the park anyway.
As night fell, the vigil grew right into a protest over violence towards ladies, and the police used pressure to attempt disperse some folks.
Among the many 4 folks arrested was a 28-year-old protester, Patsy Stevenson. Pictures of her being pinned to the bottom by a number of cops rapidly went viral.
“This incident is a chance to constructively begin a dialogue and a motion for change inside society in order that no ladies feels worry strolling down the road,” Ms. Stevenson stated in an interview.
She referred to as on protesters to assemble Monday at Parliament Sq..
For a lot of, Ms. Stevenson’s therapy by the hands of the police resonated deeply.
Jamie Klingler, an organizer of the vigil, referred to as the picture of “a person on her again at a violence towards ladies vigil” horrific and “very upsetting.”
Mayor Khan stated that the police had assured him final week that the vigil could be dealt with with sensitivity. He stated he had met Sunday with Commissioner Dick, and her deputy, Stephen Home, to demand a proof.
“I’m not glad with the reason they’ve offered,” the mayor stated.
In an announcement in a single day, Helen Ball, an assistant commissioner for the Metropolitan Police, stated that officers on the bottom have been “confronted with a tough resolution” within the night after a whole bunch of individuals “packed tightly collectively, posing a really actual threat of simply transmitting Covid-19.”
“Police should act for folks’s security,” she stated. “That is the one accountable factor to do. The pandemic shouldn’t be over, and gatherings of individuals from proper throughout London and past are nonetheless not secure.”
Nonetheless, she stated, “We settle for that the actions of our officers have been questioned.”