Last night, @TheBuddhaSmiled and I were followed home by a man who was initially shouting sexual and gendered abuses. He then got aggressive
1. On Friday 16 May, author Sunny Singh was walking home with her brother and a friend, and experienced a racially aggravated assault.
4. She then called the police.
8. When the police arrived, Singh found them to be unhelpful.
9. Even though her brother had been attacked.
10. The police asked Singh and her friend to wait while they searched for the attacker.
12. Singh was concerned for their safety.
19. She found the officer to be “aggressive”.
20. And felt like they were being treated like criminals.
22. Singh says the police accused them of being drunk.
27. Singh felt there was no understanding of how she was feeling.
31. It was the first time she had faced racial violence in London.
32. And she was grateful for the love of her brother.
34. @theBuddhaSmiled then tweeted.
38. Singh’s twitter handle trended in the United Kingdom on Saturday morning.
Correction 18 May 2014 10.00 GMT
And earlier version of this article referred to @theBuddhasmiled as a friend of Singh’s. He is Singh’s brother.
Update: 17 May 2014, 19:00 GMT
A Met Police spokesman told BuzzFeed:
“Police were called by members of the public who alleged they were being threatened by a man in the street at approximately 0330hrs on Saturday, 17 May, in Fleet Road NW3.
The man then assaulted a male (victim 1) who was with the group and racially abused him. Police arrived at the scene and took the victim in a patrol car to try and find the suspect. Officers could not find the suspect.
The victim was taken back to the scene of the assault. The group - a man (victim 1) and two women - were then taken to a north London hospital by the officers where the victim was treated.
No arrests have been made at this stage. Enquiries continue. This is being treated as a racially aggravated assault.
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is committed to tackling hate crime in all its forms and has long since recognised the impact of hate crime on communities and is leading nationally in developing our understanding of different communities and their victimisation.”
Update: 18 May 2014, 10.00 GMT
Singh told BuzzFeed in an email:
“I am deeply disappointed in the Met police after the events. I moved to London soon after 7/7 and the policing style and attitudes were key to that decision. I have had only a couple of interactions with the police since then, mostly for quite minor things like having my purse stolen and always found them professional, courteous and unfailingly helpful. So I feel quite heartbroken by the response on Friday.
At the incident, the two officers assumed that citizens should be familiar with their protocols and standard operating procedures and did not explain anything or try to inform us. I feel they worked on the assumption that anyone calling for help on a Friday night is a drunk nuisance and while I realise that there is a good chance that may be true. However it also means that they didn’t handle a racist, violent incident very well.
As a law abiding citizen, I have minimal interaction with the police and in fact, only interact with them when I am in a situation of distress and need their assistance. I feel they failed me on Friday night…I do feel they could have handled the situation better and the starting point for that would be to not assume everyone calling for help on a Friday night is a drunk nuisance. I also feel that they should not have assumed that we are familiar with their protocols. So instead of demanding and ordering, they could have just taken thirty seconds to explain what they needed to do.”
“We have not lodged a formal complaint yet as we are still trying to process what happened. It is the first incident of its type we have faced. None of us have ever faced racially motivated or aggravated physical violence and we have been left reeling. It is also a quite discomfiting that we have not heard from the police since Friday night.
But more importantly, for me this is not about disciplining officers or ‘making a fuss.’ For me this is really about trying to ensure that the next person who may be in a similar situation and perhaps more vulnerable than us is not treated this way. So this is really about structural changes such as training and protocols for sensitively responding to victims of crime.”