Mother felt violated when ‘manhandled’ by policeman over bus fare, court told

A mother felt “very violated” after a police officer “manhandled” and “wrongly arrested” her for bus fare evasion in front of her young son, a court has heard.

Pc Perry Lathwood, 50, of Norman’s Bay, East Sussex, allegedly assaulted Jocelyn Agyemang causing bruising injuries to her arm during the arrest on July 21 last year in Whitehorse Road, Croydon, south London.

City of London Magistrates’ Court heard police officers were helping ticket inspectors on a bus in Croydon at the time.

Pc Perry Lathwood court case
Pc Perry Lathwood denies one charge of assault by beating (Victoria Jones/PA)

After she and her son disembarked the bus at around 11am, she was asked to show she had paid her fare by a bus inspector.

“She does not hand it over and she walks off,” Mr Jarvis told the court.

“It is at this moment that Pc Lathwood becomes involved.”

He said Lathwood put a hand on her, but she moved away, so he then grabbed her arm and arrested her for fare evasion.

A crowd gathered, with people filming the officer and asking him why he had arrested her.

In footage played to the court, Ms Agyemang can be heard asking the officer: “Can you get off me, please? Can you get off my arm?

“You don’t understand, I have done nothing wrong.”

Mr Jarvis said Lathwood continued to hold her, demanding she tap her card. He also handcuffed her.

Another officer took her Oyster card from her hand and went away with it to see if she had paid.

It was confirmed that Ms Agyemang had paid her fare and she was de-arrested at the scene.

“There was no necessity for an arrest,” he said. “The officer in deciding to carry out this arrest, and deciding to lay hands on her and to manhandle her, was acting unlawfully because he had no justification.

“There was not a legitimate justification for using force to arrest her at that time.

“Even if it was necessary to arrest her, the level of force was not reasonable.”

Ms Agyemang gave evidence to the court.

She said she felt “very violated” by the incident.

“I just felt like they did not care,” she said. “I just felt a bit degraded because I had not done anything wrong.”

Kevin Baumber, defending, asked her why she walked off.

“At the time I was just thinking about getting to my mother’s house,” she said.

He also asked her why she “resisted” the police when she was stopped.

“I honestly don’t see it as resisting,” she said.

She said she was confused and just wanted to get to her appointment on time.

“I just remember the strong grip,” she said.

“With things I have experienced in my past, when someone is holding me, especially when I feel like I have done nothing wrong, it is very scary for me.”

Lathwood also gave evidence. He was asked why he arrested her.

He told the court he had “no idea” what else he could have done other than arrest her.

He said he arrested her to stop her from leaving the scene.

“Because of her actions and her refusal to show that card to other people who had continuously asked her to do so,” he said.

He was asked why he did not tell her why she was being arrested.

“If the card had come back as not paid we would have progressed and explained everything to her if she had allowed us,” he said.

Pc Perry Lathwood court case
The trial continues (Victoria Jones/PA)

Lathwood added she was an “unknown threat”, to herself and to him.

He denied that he arrested her so that he could use force against her.

The officer was asked why he raised his voice and called her a “daft cow” at one point during the arrest.

He said he shouted at her as a form of “tactical communication”, and he was concerned that she might step into the road – causing harm to herself.

Lathwood, who is attached to the Metropolitan Police’s Road Traffic Policing Command, appeared in court wearing a blue suit and blue and white tie.

He denies one charge of assault by beating, and the trial continues.

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