British Empire Medal winner refused to get out of car when asked by police
Neomi Bennett during her arrest. Picture: YouTube
A nurse from Wandsworth is claiming that she was the victim of racial profiling after she was stopped in her car by police last year.
47-year-old mother of three, Neomi Bennett, had recently been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to nursing. She had developed a technique which is now used by the NHS to help patients with deep vein thrombosis.
She was stopped by police on April 2019 in what police describe as a ‘hard stop’ where a number of vehicles surround a suspect’s car.
She was arrested when she refused to cooperate and faced charges but these were dismissed recently.
A video of the incident shows police officers stopping the car which she was driving because they believed that the tints on the windscreen were non-compliant with the law. They said that this alteration to the manufacturer's specification was often associated with criminals operating in the area. A letter from the car dealer from which she purchased the car later confirmed that the tint on her windscreen was to the manufacturer’s standard.
She refused to get out of the car when requested by officers saying that she was scared. A police officer told her he needed her to leave the vehicle so that he could search the car but she continued to refuse. A passenger got out of the car when requested.
After a prolonged stand-off she was removed by the police from the car and then arrested and taken to a police station where she was held in custody for 18 hours. A search of her car had found nothing incriminating.
She was convicted of obstruction but lodged an appeal which prosecutors recently decided not to challenge. She is now considering legal action against the Metropolitan Police.
She told the Guardian newspaper “I believe I was racially profiled and certainly don’t think this would have happened if I were white.”
The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: “The Crown Prosecution Service received an appeal and we are aware of their decision not to pursue the appeal hearing.
“The South West Basic Command Unit (SWBCU) professional standards team has received a number of complaints relating to this incident, one is still currently under assessment.
“Due to the current complaint, we cannot go into any more detail at this time. However, Sally Benatar, SWBCU Commander, has recently been in contact with Neomi Bennett and has put her in touch with the local Independent Advisory Group chair to discuss her experiences with police.”
June 23, 2020