Hundreds of protesters have descended on a police station in London in solidarity with a black teenage girl who was searched by officers during her period following a false allegation of drug possession.
Crowds gathered outside Stoke Newington police station in north London on Friday afternoon during the protest sparked by the treatment of a schoolgirl named Child Q.
The then 15-year-old student was subjected to a cavity search by Metropolitan Police officers in 2020 after teachers at a Hackney secondary school called police to the premises.
She was strip searched by officers – who knew she was menstruating – after teachers suspected the girl was in possession of cannabis, a safety report said.
Child Q’s mother was not informed of the search, while the teachers remained outside the room during the search. This comes weeks after the teenager was falsely accused of drug possession and threatened with deportation by staff.
The teenager and her family have now filed civil lawsuits against the force and her school, law firm Bhatt Murphy said on Friday.
Demonstrators who gathered on Friday chanted “no justice, no peace, abolish the police” and “racist police officers, get out of schools” at the police station.
Various speakers addressed the crowd, including Ngozi Fulani, founder of Sistah Space and spokesperson for activist group Forever Family, Denise Henry, co-founder of NEU Black Educators Network, and Chañtelle Lunt, a former black police officer and founder of Merseyside BLM Alliance.
Some students who said they attended the same school where the raid took place also spoke, as did children of some activists who showed up to show their support. One girl, no older than five, said: “We will all stand together to stop racism and we hope everyone is safe.”
“(Imagining) my mother, my sister, my wife being strip searched – it just pisses me off,” anti-knife activist Faron Alex Paul told the crowd.
“But you’re going to take a 15-year-old girl’s dignity just like that and nothing is going to happen? That’s a problem. And where are these cops now – they’re at work and they’re still getting paid.
“We can be angry, angry and upset, but it’s going to take persistence and organization to deal with these people. We live in England; It’s a real racist country. One minute we – George Floyd – are rioting and the next it’s quiet. Then that.”
Pointing to two police officers inside the station who were watching the protest from the top floor, Mr Paul continued: “Keep your foot on the gas people; The officers are looking at us now and thinking, ‘Don’t worry, they’ll be gone tomorrow’.”
One mother spoke to the crowd, imploring parents to stand up for their children at all times, especially with teachers. “We have to put ourselves in these schools and stop letting these teachers educate our children because they are not their parents — we are,” she said. “Moms have to go in and confront that teacher when our kids complain.”
People in the crowd also held up signs reading “No to racist police, Justice for Child Q” and “We say no to police in schools” and Black Lives Matter banners. They also shouted “Shame on you” at the officers in front of the station.
Speak with The Independent After the protest, activist and singer Jermaine Jackman said: “There’s a lot of anger in the air. There’s a lot of anger at protests, but this one in particular was rooted in a space of disgust and disbelief that we’re here again. From exhaustion. We have the right to be angry. We have the right to be here.”
Mr Jackman, who is also chairman of Black Men 4 Change, added: “That’s two years ago and now the review has come out – it’s not fair. That’s just a glimmer of hope – so when will the family see justice and when will our community heal?
“Today was the time to express anger, learn, gather knowledge and show solidarity and say ‘enough is enough’. But we have to follow up with changes and measures.”
Adam Pugh, an anti-racism activist and former Met police officer who left the force in 2014 over racism concerns, attended the protest and narrated The Independent: “Everything about this case is disturbing to me.
“When do we just say enough is enough? It’s just one thing at a time; In the last two years it has been one violation after another. From the pandemic and Sarah Everard to Met police officers taking selfies with the bodies of black women Nicola Smallman and Bibaa Henry.
“You can’t reform the police – they should be abolished and money spent on the police channeled back into the communities. The safest communities in London aren’t the most heavily surveilled; They are the ones with the most resources. We always hear talk of bad apples; How many bad apples do we have to hear about? The whole apple cart is rotten, so it doesn’t matter how many good apples are in it.”
The case has sparked outrage from politicians, activists and members of the general public, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan sharing his “dismay and disgust” and activist Patrick Vernon calling the incident a “state rape”.
More protests are planned in London, Glasgow and Cardiff over the weekend ahead of UN Anti-Racism Day on March 21.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/child-q-protest-london-police-b2039395.html Hundreds protest outside London Police Station over the treatment of child Q