Police officer fined for assaulting woman in wrongful bus fare arrest

UK

A Metropolitan Police officer has been fined £1,500 for assaulting a woman who he wrongly arrested over a bus fare in front of her young son.

PC Perry Lathwood, 50, manhandled Jocelyn Agyemang, leaving her with bruises after grabbing her by the arm on 21 July last year in Croydon, south London.

The victim, who had been wrongly arrested for fare evasion, claimed the officer called her a “daft cow”.

Ms Agyemang said the incident was “deeply humiliating and embarrassing” and that Lathwood had a “look of contempt in his eyes” that day, in a victim personal statement read out at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

She went on to say she has lost confidence in the police force as the arrest had a “devastating effect” on her and her son, who witnessed the scene.

‘Error of judgment’

Deputy Senior District Judge Tan Ikram sentenced the officer, from East Sussex, saying: “On this occasion in my judgment the officer crossed the line and got it wrong.”

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But the judge said rather than as a result of “bad faith” or “an abuse of power”, his actions were a “momentary error of judgment” while dealing with a “difficult and challenging” passenger.

Ms Agyemang was dropping her son off at her mother’s house before heading to an appointment in Marylebone scheduled for 12.30pm in July last year.

Police officers were helping ticket inspectors on a bus in Croydon at the time.

After she and her son got off the bus at about 11am, she was asked to show she had paid her fare by a bus inspector.

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Prosecutor Paul Jarvis told the trial Lathwood put a hand on the woman, but she moved away, so he then grabbed her arm and arrested her for fare evasion.

A crowd gathered, with people filming the officer and asking him why he had arrested her.

Mr Jarvis said Lathwood continued to hold her, demanding she tap her card. He also handcuffed her.

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Another officer took her Oyster card from her hand and went away with it to see if she had paid.

It was confirmed that Ms Agyemang had paid her fare and she was released at the scene.

Ms Agyemang said in her personal statement: “PC Lathwood manhandled me in circumstances where it was not warranted, but it was the look of contempt in his eyes as he did so that I find hard to move past.

“His comment that I was a ‘daft cow’ was particularly degrading and I believe he intended it to be degrading.”

Following the officer’s conviction last month, Met Police Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said the verdict presented a “huge setback to our ability to rebuild trust with Londoners”.

Lathwood, who must also pay £200 to the victim in compensation, £650 in costs and a victim surcharge of £600, will be appealing against his conviction.

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