Anti-Flag – Fuck Police Brutality
The Pageantry & Precrime site has been updated with details of Judicial Reviews awarded to a number of people arrested during last year’s royal wedding. A four-day hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice encompassed four separate reviews:
- one Judicial Review into the pre-emptive arrests for ‘breach of the peace’ on the day of the royal wedding
- one Judicial Review into the pre-emptive arrest of a minor for ‘criminal damage’ the police believed he would cause (evidence: two pens)
- one Judicial Review into the raid on the Grow Heathrow squat the day before the royal wedding – for which a supposed link to republican extremism was the excuse
- one Judicial Review into another raid on a squat in Camberwell for which – again – a supposed link to left wing extremism was the excuse given.
The first two reviews addressed the arrest of “zombie flashmob” members, including Queer Resistance activists. Two trans attendees alleged that they were sexually assaulted by police officers following their arrest.
The hearing aims to address broad police tactics and behaviour rather than individual acts of intimidation or violence. As such, the relevant Judicial Review will not (for instance) lead to any action against the officers accused of committing sexual assault. However, I have been informed that one of the trans arrestees is pursuing a separate legal case against the officer(s) concerned.
Judgement on the case has been deferred until July. A claimant explained that: “judgement is deferred because between 20-odd claimants over four JRs the evidence and other submitted papers amount to several thousand pages that the judges must read.”
A full account of the hearing can be found at the following links:
May Karon Monaghan QC, representing individuals who were pre-emptively arrested, set out her arguments
Barristers representing the plaintiffs provided evidence for each Judicial Review.
Final evidence for the fourth Judicial Review. Response to all evidence from barrister representing the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.
Further evidence from police barrister Sam Grodzinski. Concluding remarks from claimants’ barristers in response to police evidence.
“The hearing has encompassed everything from the absurd to the Orwellian,” said Hannah Eiseman-Renyard, one of the claimants who was arrested for zombie fancy dress. “In the past four days the court has seen the police use an article from the Sunas evidence and heard how a raid on a squat ostensibly for stolen goods saw the police take all the toothbrushes for DNA.”
“The Met argues that every breach of the peace arrest was done for our own good before we provoked an inevitable violent reaction from royalists. Personally, I wasn’t even protesting anything. I went along for the zombie flashmob and I wound up in a police cell. It would be laughable if it weren’t so scary.”
Sam Grodzinski, the police’s barrister, said less intrusive policing, such as confiscating the flyer from one claimant wasn’t an option as “handing it over would not cleanse her of those intentions”. In the case of a minor arrested pre-emptively for ‘criminal damage’ because of two marker pens in his backpack, Mr Grodzkinski said confiscating the pens was not an option as “he could have bought more.”
Just under a year ago I wrote a report for Lesbilicious on the alleged sexual assault of two trans people following their arrest. They were apparently detained for the crime of carrying facepaint and flyers within just over a kilometre of the Royal Wedding.
It has been announced that the pair – along with others who were arrested on the day ahead of a planned “zombie flashmob” in Soho Square – are now pursuing legal action. They are seeking to bring sexual assault charges against the officers involved, and have also been awarded a judicial review.
From the Pageantry and Precrime web page:
Private or Civil Law claims would have likely resulted in an offer of compensation money before the case ever got to a judgement, but the claimants wanted a proper investigation and a judgement at the end of it to set a precedent for future policing. The claimants want to make sure that what happened to them cannot happen again.
Those involved hope to prove that there was (as the evidence seems to indicate) an over-arching policy of pre-emptive arrest that day. It is hoped that the Judicial Review will clarify that the Met’s policing of the royal wedding was illegal and that similar actions cannot be repeated.
It is especially concerning as it is believed in some circles that the royal wedding was used as a ‘dry-run’ for the policing tactics which will be used during the olympics and the jubilee in 2012.