Thursday, August 30, 2012

Police may be sued for holding protesters | THE UNHIVED MIND

Police may be sued for holding protesters

September 14th 2011

Mark Blunden

Protesters detained for 23 hours when they stormed a town hall could sue the Met after a judge threw out the case against them.

Charity worker Jane Laporte and librarian Nicolas Christian were handcuffed and bundled into a police van after scuffles broke out with riot officers during a protest at a Haringey council budget meeting.

But a judge has ruled there was “no evidence” they were a threat to officers. Ms Laporte said: “The heavy-handed response by riot police was totally disproportionate. At one point there were four officers on top of me.”

Demonstrators opposing budget cuts met outside Wood Green civic centre on February 24. One group occupied the council chamber.

Councillors were moved to a side room, but protesters, including Ms Laporte, 39, and Mr Christian, 35, burst in and police held them back. They were charged with assaulting constables in the execution of their duty. Judge Nina Tempia, sitting at Enfield magistrates’ court, said she was satisfied the two “were not violent or threatening violence”.

The pair, of Tottenham, are now considering legal action against the Met. Mr Christian said they wanted to uphold “the freedom to protest in the face of police intimidation”.

The Met said allegations of assault by police should be made via the Independent Police Complaints Commission or Met directorate of professional standards.

The council meeting went ahead and agreed £84 million of cuts.

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