Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Mother handcuffed by four British cops in front of disabled son then bundled into police van and charged with public order offence... after she swore at pedestrian who pushed pram in front of her car

A mother was bundled into a police van by four officers after she shouted at a pedestrian who walked out in front of her car. Dee St Phorose, 50, who had never been in trouble with police before, was handcuffed in front of her disabled son before being charged with a public order offence.

But magistrates have now thrown out the case against her because of a lack of evidence she offended anyone.

Speaking after the case, Ms St Phorose slammed the 'heavy-handed' actions of the police and is now taking her case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The mother-of-two, from Islington, north London, said: 'It has been six months of having to deal with the humiliation and the fear of prosecution. 'This was a complete waste of taxpayers' money and police resources to have four officers attending to a middle-aged woman.'

The incident happened on Boxing Day last year when Ms St Phorose was travelling through Shepherd's Bush, west London with her fiance Russell Shrimplin and their son Oliver, eight.

Mr Shrimplin, 51, a TV cameraman, was driving their Audi A6 when the couple say a man ignored a red light at a pedestrian crossing and stepped in front of them with a buggy. Mr Shrimplin was forced to make an emergency stop and Oliver was thrown forward and hurt his neck.

Ms St Phorose shouted 't**t' at the man through her open window and her comments were overheard by two policemen standing nearby.

She then was surprised when the officers told Mr Shrimplin to pull into a nearby petrol station 'for a chat'.

Ms St Phorose, a full-time carer for Oliver, said: 'I was very offended when [the officer] leaned into the car and told me it wasn't Christmassy behaviour.'

She added: 'I'm a Christian and he was telling me it wasn't Christian behaviour.

'We had a dispute about the word 't**t' and whether it was a swear word. If they had just issued me with a fine, that would've been the end of the matter but they didn't.

'Four police officers came in total and I was handcuffed in front of my son, he was extremely distressed, especially when [I was] dragged further away.

'The handcuffs were too tight and I got bruising - the pain was excruciating and I was screaming. The whole thing was disgusting. I feel extremely violated.'

Ms St Phorose was taken to Hammersmith Police Station in a van where she says she was left outside for 20 minutes.

After finally seeing the custody sergeant, Ms St Phorose was given a £90 fine but refused to pay it and instead was charged with a Section 5 public order offence of causing alarm or distress.

Six months later, the case has now been thrown out by City of London Magistrates, who ruled that she had not caused alarm or distress.

Pc Richard Harvey told the court he arrested Ms St Phorose because she refused to give him her details, but she and her fiance dispute that.

Pc Harvey said: 'She was very angry and kept saying she called the man a t**t because he was pushing a child into the road and repeatedly said the word t**t very loudly and there were pedestrians around.

'I asked Ms St Phorose for her name and address because I thought it could be dealt with sensibly but she refused.

'In the end, I arrested her and explained why - saying it was for a section 5 public order act because she was causing distress and alarm to passersby. I put her in handcuffs because of our failure to communicate.'

Ms St Phorose represented herself because the offence was so minor she didn't qualify for legal aid. When she challenged the officer in court, he said he may have told her the situation was 'not Christmassy'.

He said: 'There might have been similar words - it was the day after Christmas and I might have said words of that kind because it was the festive period.'

Chair of the bench Jan Carr said: 'Ms St Phorose was clearly upset by what she had witnessed and aggravated by the police. The situation escalated resulting in arrest.

'However, I have to find beyond reasonable doubt that we are certain that Ms St Phorose's behaviour caused alarm and distress. We are not satisfied this is the case.'

Speaking after the case, Ms St Phorose said: 'I finally had my day in court and common sense prevails and I can now pursue my complaint for the way I had been violated.'

She has now lodged a complaint with the IPCC and is awaiting a further response.

Original report here




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