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A Shocking Account Of A Racist Attack In North London, Told In 38 Tweets

And a “callous” police response. Contains NSFW language.

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.

At this point @TheBuddhaSmiled was physically putting himself between me and another female friend and this man was spewing abuses

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

He then began to run away, and @TheBuddhaSmiled followed him a few yards to see if he was really leaving or if he would come back

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

8. When the police arrived, Singh found them to be unhelpful.

The @metpoliceuk arrived at this point. then began the WORST part of the night. They treated @TheBuddhaSmiled, me +my friend like criminals

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

9. Even though her brother had been attacked.

Even though @TheBuddhaSmiled was bleeding profusely from his mouth (his lip is getting stitches), @metpoliceuk demanded he get in the car

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

10. The police asked Singh and her friend to wait while they searched for the attacker.

My friend +I were both women, standing yards from where the attack took place but @metpoliceuk officer told us to stay there and wait

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

. @metpoliceuk officer got very aggressive when we said we didnt want to stay on the street waiting as two women alone minutes after attack

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

12. Singh was concerned for their safety.

We said we were concerned about our safety+ @metpoliceuk officer said: "it is a lighted spot." Even though the attack had taken place there

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

. @metpoliceuk officer got out of the car and said "let's do it your way. We will wait with you and the man (who attacked) will get away"

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

We asked @metpoliceuk officer if we could go in the car with @TheBuddhaSmiled while they looked for the attacker. Again officer was v rude

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

. @metpoliceuk said their insurance didnt cover three people in back seat while blue light was on...or something along those lines

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

So my friend + I waited on the street, yards from where we had faced racially aggravated assault while @TheBuddhaSmiled went w @metpoliceuk

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

I will let @TheBuddhaSmiled explain his experience but @metpoliceuk were very rude to him as well simply because he was in shock +confused

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

Obviously they did not find the attacker and @metpoliceuk came back about ten minutes later with @TheBuddhaSmiled who was still bleeding

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

19. She found the officer to be “aggressive”.

The @metpoliceuk officer continued being very aggressive, at one point saying that we were distracting resources from 'hot spots.'

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

20. And felt like they were being treated like criminals.

Finally, I said that I didn't understand why @metpoliceuk were treating us like criminals when we were actually the victims of a crime?

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

Through out this time, @TheBuddhaSmiled was bleeding in the @metpoliceuk car while my friend and I waited outside on the street

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

22. Singh says the police accused them of being drunk.

At various points @metpoliceuk were really aggressive and telling us that we were drunk (we weren't - we had been dancing at Kali!)

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

Finally we asked @metpoliceuk officers if we could get @TheBuddhaSmiled to the hospital. That is when they started to calm down

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

I assumed that my friend and I would walk to the hospital and we'd be grateful if @metpoliceuk could give @TheBuddhaSmiled a ride to AnE

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

But then @metpoliceuk said because it was not an 'emergency' my friend and I could get in the back seat and be driven to hospital

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

In the car, @metpoliceuk took our 'statements.' They told us that racial crimes were a priority. I would like to believe that but I doubt it

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

27. Singh felt there was no understanding of how she was feeling.

At no point was there ANY understanding from @metpoliceuk that we had just experienced racial abuse and physical violence and were in shock

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

Instead @metpoliceuk treated us like criminals, demanding information, telling us we were imprecise (by a few yards), ignoring what we said

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

Given their attitude and behaviour last night, I have trouble believing that racial crimes are of any importance to @metpoliceuk

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

So @TheBuddhaSmiled is in the AnE, waiting - after 3+ hours - to get stitches. He is not badly hurt physically but racial abuse always hurts

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

31. It was the first time she had faced racial violence in London.

I have lived in #London for years but this is the only time I have faced racial violence. Attribute it to normalisation of racist discourse

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

32. And she was grateful for the love of her brother.

Also I saw today that made me EXTREMELY grateful: @TheBuddhaSmiled physically put himself between me and harm. Amazing to be loved like that

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

Let me make it very clear: no @metpoliceuk officer was racist in overt ways. But their behaviour was callous, aggressive and rude

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

34. @theBuddhaSmiled then tweeted.

Hey @NW3 can we talk about racially aggravated assaults in our neighbourhood please?

— The Buddha Smiled (@TheBuddhaSmiled)

Last night I was called a"Paki cunt" before being punched in the face. In Belsize Park. So much for a racially diverse London.

— The Buddha Smiled (@TheBuddhaSmiled)

This is what happens when you normalise racial hatred in mainstream media - people like me get attacked while walking home in London.

— The Buddha Smiled (@TheBuddhaSmiled)

I am angry, I am hurt and I am not going to take this kind of shit lying down. Fuck you, racism: you're not going to get the best if me.

— The Buddha Smiled (@TheBuddhaSmiled)

38. Singh’s twitter handle trended in the United Kingdom on Saturday morning.

For the saddest reason I could imagine RT @TrendsUK: Sunny Singh, @sunnysingh_nw3 is now trending in United Kingdom http://t.co/vVbGU5YUDa

— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_nw3)

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.”

Singh continued:

“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.”

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

Ailbhe Malone is the UK lifestyle editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
 
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