Patsy Stevenson, who was arrested at the Sarah Everard vigil in 2021, has revealed in an emotional interview with the BBC that she still feels traumatized and experiences nightmares about how the police handled her. Stevenson and fellow protester Dania Al-Obeid received damages from the Met Police after suing the force over their treatment.
Sarah Everard Vigil Arrests
Stevenson expressed that the past few years had been overwhelming for her. While she felt immense relief that the case had been settled, she believed that the Met had not taken full accountability for their actions. Stevenson, who had never attended a public demonstration before the vigil at Clapham Common, went there to place a candle in tribute to Sarah Everard. She described how things escalated during the vigil, with a woman asking for her help. Stevenson found herself trapped between police officers and a crowd of people with their phones out.
She mentioned still having nightmares and recalled the fear she felt during the event. Stevenson also highlighted the solidarity among the women who stood together during the vigil. The incident, which involved images of women being handcuffed and led away by officers, generated widespread anger over the policing by Scotland Yard. In letters to Stevenson and Al-Obeid, Karen Findlay, commander for major events and public order policing for London, acknowledged their motivations for attending the vigil and expressed understanding for their grief and anger. While Stevenson felt that the Met had not been fully accountable for her arrest, she considered the settlement a significant step in their campaign for justice. The vigil was held in memory of Sarah Everard, who was kidnapped, raped, and murdered by police officer Wayne Couzens.
Patsy Stevenson, a woman who was arrested at the Sarah Everard vigil in 2021, has revealed that she still experiences trauma and nightmares related to the way the police handled her arrest. In an emotional interview with the BBC, Stevenson discussed the overwhelming impact of the past few years. The Metropolitan Police settled a lawsuit with Stevenson and fellow protester Dania Al-Obeid over their treatment during the vigil, and they were paid damages. While Stevenson and Al-Obeid expressed immense relief that the case had come to a close, Stevenson believed that the Met had not been fully accountable for their actions. Stevenson had never attended a public demonstration before the vigil at London’s Clapham Common in March 2021. She went there with a friend to pay tribute to Sarah Everard, who was kidnapped, raped, and murdered by police officer Wayne Couzens.
Stevenson described how things escalated at the vigil, with another woman reaching out to her for help. She found herself surrounded by police officers and a crowd of people with their phones, feeling trapped against a railing. She held onto the handrail tightly, fearing she would be pulled backward. Stevenson and three other women decided to stay in solidarity. Images of women being handcuffed on the ground and led away by officers sparked outrage over Scotland Yard’s handling of the vigil. The socially distanced event had been canceled due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, but people continued to gather throughout the day. By evening, the vigil saw clashes between police and attendees.
Commander Karen Findlay, who oversees major events and public order policing for London, acknowledged the women’s motivations for attending the vigil and expressed regret that their opportunity to express grief and anger was curtailed by their arrest and removal. She also mentioned ongoing efforts within the Met to address issues related to violence against women and girls. Stevenson found the last few years overwhelming and felt relieved that the case was resolved, even though she believed the Met had not been fully accountable. Dania Al-Obeid, who was also involved in the legal action, described the period after her arrest as “terrifying” and “confusing.” She and others faced comments and accusations related to their attendance at the vigil. Al-Obeid expressed the importance of being heard and seen through the Met’s apology and settlement. The exact amount paid to the two women was not disclosed by the Met or the law firm representing them.