Neomi Bennett, a black nurse pulled over by police officers in the United Kingdom because her front windows were tinted too dark, has said she was targeted because of her race.
London police officers surrounded Bennett, who was sitting in her car late one evening in April 2019. She was dropping off a friend in Wandsworth, south London, The Independent reported.
Frightened to the marrow, Bennett, 47, who has been working intensive care shift as a locum nurse treating coronavirus patients, was pulled out of the car by male police officers.
She was arrested and detained in a cell for 18 hours even though the officers did not find any incriminating substance or material on her, the Guardian reported.
“I feel I have to protect myself from the police more than anything else as a black person in London,” Bennett was quoted as saying by the outlet.
“They kept saying to each other: ‘This is not adding up,’” she said. “It’s like I wasn’t fitting the narrative they had. Irrespective of my innocence they were going to continue the process.”
After overturning a conviction for obstructing the police during her pullover, Bennett who invented the Neo-slip device used by the NHS to help patients with deep vein thrombosis, plans to file a civil case against the Metropolitan police for wrongful arrest, assault, battery, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution, according to reports.
“When the police approached me, I think my experience as a black person is very different to that of a white person and the fear it invokes is tremendous.
“I can’t even describe the fear that I experienced on that night,” she told The BBC.
“I believe I was racially profiled and certainly don’t think this would have happened if I were white,” Bennett, who was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to nursing added.
According to a consultant psychiatrist’s note, Bennett had a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder from a serious house fire, and is likely to have been unable to comply with police instructions because she was experiencing a severe panic attack, The Guardian reported.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “The South West Basic Command Unit Professional Standards team is currently assessing a complaint in relation to this incident.
“Due to the complaint, we cannot go into any more detail at this time, however, Sally Benatar, SW BCU Commander, has recently been in contact with Bennett and has put her in touch with the local Independent Advisory Group chair to discuss her experiences with police.”