Target: Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (London).
Goal: Condemn Metropolitan Police Service, London, for the brutal and abusive arrest of a transgender woman.
A transgender woman, later identified as 49-year-old Jose Dos Santos, was recently brutally arrested and abused by the Metropolitan Police Service in Soho, London. She was outside the Le Pain Quotidien restaurant, in Wardour Street, Soho, when she began feeling ill and threw up on the street. Police officers nearby found the behavior warranted an arrest, and immediately pushed Dos Santos against a window and handcuffed her, using excessive force.
Eyewitnesses to the incident, which took place in broad daylight, stated that three officers cornered Dos Santos after she became ill. After restraining her, the officers ripped the woman’s wig off her head, and emptied her purse onto the ground. They proceeded to mock her for the feminine items in her bag, and for the dress she was wearing, shouting, “You’re not normal! We’ll let you get you up in a few minutes but you need to act like a normal human being.”
As a crowd gathered the three officers continued to abuse and humiliate Dos Santos. Although she was immobilized, they threw her to the ground. A witness said, “…they decided to throw her to the ground where her head hit the concrete first, making the worst sound…” Once she was on the floor, one officer pulled Dos Santos’s arms upwards to cause pain, while the other two stood on her legs and shoulders with their full weight. By this time the woman was screaming in agony, begging the officers and asking them, “Why? Why?” An officer responded by twisting the woman’s arms further.
The crowd of a hundred plus people began to protest the violent behavior but they were ignored, until the officers realized they were being filmed. At that point, they called for backup. Fifteen other officers arrived on the scene. They hauled Dos Santos up and put her into a van and then left the scene, disregarding bystanders who demanded to know the police numbers of the officers who abused the woman.
A number of concurrent eyewitness accounts suggest that the Metropolitan Police Service behaved in a brutally abusive, transphobic manner towards Jose Dos Santos. Such behavior is atrocious, irresponsible and should be condemned severely and immediately. Sign the petition below to express your aversion to the Metropolitan Police Service’s transphobic behavior.
Dear Mr. Hogan-Howe,
A transgender woman named Jose Dos Santos was recently arrested by the Metropolitan Police Service, in Soho, London. Her arrest followed a disturbance which involved Ms. Dos Santos becoming ill and throwing up on the street. While the behavior may warrant police intervention, the amount of force the officers who restrained Ms. Dos Santos showed was inappropriate. Three officers pushed Dos Santos against a window, cuffed her, ripped off her wig, and verbally abused her. She was humiliated in front of a large crowd, violently thrown to the ground, and then stood on, in spite of being immobilized.
A number of eyewitnesses, many of whom recorded the incident, have stated that Ms. Dos Santos was severely abused by the Metropolitan Police. Fifteen police officers were called to the scene to deal with the woman, who was injured and screaming in agony. Such behavior is despicable, particularly when displayed by police officers. Officers of the law are meant to protect civilians, not attack them. I am writing to condemn this horrendous behavior, and to express my deep disappointment in the Metropolitan Police Service. I hope you will release an apology to Ms. Dos Santos immediately.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Jason Barles via Flickr.