Black woman sues police over Stop and Search that ‘breached human rights’

07:35 04 May 2012

Zeeshan Choudhary was killed in June last year

Zeeshan Choudhary was killed in June last year

Archant

A London woman has gone to the High Court over a stop and search by police officers which she claims breached her human rights.

Ann Juliette Roberts, 38, from Edmonton in north London, also claimed black people were unfairly targeted under the measure.

A special needs assistant who works with children, Mrs Roberts was detained by police following a stop and search in September, 2010.

Police officers claimed the part of Haringey she was in at the time, was a “hotspot” for gang violence and knife possession.

A struggle followed when Mrs Robert, who has an African Caribbean background, called for the search to take place not in public, but at a police station.

She was restrained face down on the ground and handcuffed. Bank cards were found in her bag in three different identities - which she said were her maiden name, married name and the name of her son.

Officers arrested her on suspicion of fraud and she was taken to Tottenham police station. Meanwhile, officers searched her home.

That charge of fraud was later dropped and Mrs Roberts was eventually issued with a caution.

At the High Court yesterday (Wednesday), Hugh Southey QC, appearing for Mrs Roberts, told two judges: “This power is used in a disproportionate way against black people, and black people in London in particular.

“We say there are no adequate explanations for that.”

Mr Southey argued stop and search powers to search without reasonable suspicion were breached European Human Rights.

He argued the “disproportionate” use of section 60 searches against black Londoners breached Article 14, which protects against discrimination.

Between 2009-2010, 43,219 black people were searched by Met officers under section 60, compared with 27,217 white people.

Mr Southey said that implied “that a black Londoner is over nine times more likely to be searched under section 60 than a white person”.

The case continues.

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