A nurse in London who has had a 2019 conviction overturned has filed a complaint against the Metropolitan Police, claiming she was wrongfully arrested because she is black.
Neomi Bennett, 47, said that she had finished her shift and was returning home from watching her father perform at an open mic night on April 4, 2019, when her car was “surrounded” by London Metropolitan Police vehicles in Wandsworth. After she denied repeated requests to exit her vehicle, Bennett was arrested by police, who said that the front-facing tint on her vehicle was illegal, and that they suspected there was stolen property inside the car.
Bennett spent 18 hours in police custody and was charged with, and later convicted of, obstructing a constable, a decision that was overturned in May 2020. The tint in her vehicle’s windscreen was also found to be within legal limits.
Police body camera footage released to Bennett shows her encounter with police. It shows Bennett refusing to leave the vehicle, and her eventual arrest.
“You’re really starting to annoy me madam, and you’re now accusing me of being racist, which I think you are doing to obstruct us,” one of the officers is heard saying.
Bennett is then pulled from her vehicle and handcuffed, though she repeats that she doesn’t “understand what she’s done.” The car was searched for stolen property but police found nothing, according to reports.
In the full arrest footage, Bennett says, “I’m scared because you keep harming black people … I’m a nurse. I’ve come off duty and I’m sitting with my friend talking. The people that did the tint actually said that it was legal. I’m not doing any harm.”
“I’m scared," Bennet says. "I’m scared you’re going to hurt me. Because you’re hurting a lot of black people. I’m scared because I’ve seen what you’re doing to black people in London, especially since Brexit.”
“Well, I’m sorry you feel that way,” one of the officers responds.
A representative from the Metropolitan Police told Storyful they did not release the footage. Bennett said it was made available to her after a subject access request.
Bennett said she’s been working in an intensive care unit during the coronavirus pandemic. She was awarded the British Empire Medal and invited to Downing Street in recognition of her work designing a product to help prevent deep vein thrombosis, Metro said. Credit: Met Police via Neomi Bennett (Neo-innovations UK) via Storyful