Tag Archives: Sarah

London police commissioner rejects calls to resign following clashes at Sarah Everard vigil

London’s police commissioner on Sunday defended her officers’ actions and said she didn’t intend to resign, after coming under heavy criticism for the way police treated some protesters during a vigil for a woman whom one of the force’s own officers is accused of murdering.

Hundreds defied coronavirus restrictions to gather and protest violence against women, but the event ended with clashes between police and those attending and many questioned whether the police force was too heavy-handed.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said scenes from Saturday’s vigil in south London were “upsetting” and she is seeking a full report on what happened from the Metropolitan Police.

The capital’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, said the police response was “at times neither appropriate nor proportionate.”

Police were seen scuffling with some women at the event, and one woman was seen pinned to the ground by two officers. Video widely shared on social media showed a woman was pulled up from the ground by officers who then shoved her from the back. Several women were led away in handcuffs as other attendees chanted “Shame on you” at police. The force later said four people were arrested for violating public order and coronavirus regulations.

PHOTOS | Hundreds in the U.K. defy vigil ban to honour Sarah Everard:

On Sunday, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, who is the first woman to head the force, said she was personally appalled by the attack on Everard and she was more determined than ever to lead the organization. She said she fully understood the strength of feeling in response to Everard’s case, but stressed that Saturday’s vigil was an unlawful gathering and officers had been put in a “very difficult position” trying to police a protest during a pandemic.

She said that as big crowds gathered, officers needed to act to counter the considerable risk to people’s health. She added that she welcomed a review into her force’s operations.

Many of those attending the vigil were already wary of police because a serving Metropolitan Police officer, Wayne Couzens, was charged with the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old woman who vanished March 3 while walking home in London. Her body was found a week later.

The case has sparked a national outcry and a heated debate on women’s safety. Organizers had planned an official vigil at Clapham Common, a park near where Everard was last seen alive, but were forced to cancel the event because of COVID-19 restrictions. A huge crowd turned up Saturday nonetheless.

Khan, London’s mayor, said Sunday the police force had assured him the vigil would be “policed sensitively” but that this wasn’t the case. He added he is asking for a full and independent investigation into the force’s operation on Saturday as well as the actions of individual officers at the vigil.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, left, and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick are seen in London in June 2017. (Isabel Infantes/AFP via Getty Images)

Jamie Klingler, who organized the cancelled “Reclaim These Streets” event, blamed police for denying women their right to have a silent vigil in the first place. The force got the angry reaction Saturday because they refused to facilitate a peaceful rally, she alleged.

“I think we were shocked and really, really sad and to see videos of policemen handling women at a vigil about violence against women by men … I think it was painful and pretty triggering to see,” Klingler said Sunday.

Patsy Stevenson, who was pictured pinned to the ground by two officers during Saturday’s clashes, said she was considering whether to challenge the 200-pound ($ 347 Cdn) fine she received.

Police detain a woman who was later identified in media reports and on social media as university student Patsy Stevenson. She said officers pinned her to the ground while arresting her at the memorial site on Saturday night. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)

“We were there to remember Sarah, we all felt deeply saddened and still do that it happened, so I brought a candle with me but unfortunately wasn’t even able to light it to put it down because the police turned up and barged their way through,” she told LBC radio.

Couzens, 48, appeared in court Saturday for the first time. He was remanded in custody and has another appearance scheduled Tuesday at London’s Central Criminal Court.

The Metropolitan Police has said it is “deeply disturbing” that one of its own is a suspect in the case. The force said Couzens joined its ranks in 2018 and most recently served in the parliamentary and diplomatic protection command, an armed unit responsible for guarding embassies in the capital and Parliament.

Everard was last seen walking home from a friend’s apartment in south London at about 10:30 p.m. on March 3. Her body was found hidden in an area of woodland in Kent, more than 50 miles southeast of London, on Wednesday. 

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Duchess of Cambridge joins U.K. mourners defying vigil ban to honour Sarah Everard

Hundreds of people in London defied coronavirus restrictions Saturday to pay their respects to a 33-year-old woman who disappeared while walking home and was found dead a week later.

The case, which sent shockwaves across the U.K. because a police officer has been charged with her kidnapping and murder, also has spurred a national conversation about violence against women.

Earlier in the day, Metropolitan Police constable Wayne Couzens, 48, appeared in court for the first time since he was arrested on suspicion of abducting and killing marketing executive Sarah Everard, who was last seen walking home from a friend’s apartment in south London on the night of March 3.

WATCH | U.K. police officer charged in kidnapping and murder of Sarah Everard:

An officer with London’s Metropolitan Police has now been charged with kidnapping — and killing — a young woman who disappeared last week. British women are voicing their outrage. 2:02

Organizers at Reclaim These Streets said they had cancelled a vigil on Clapham Common in south London near where Everard, 33, was last seen. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Everard’s body was found hidden in an area of woodland in Kent, more than 80 kilometres southeast of London, on Wednesday. A post-mortem examination was taking place, police said Friday.

In the wake of Everard’s disappearance and killing, many women have taken to social media to share their own experiences of being threatened or attacked while walking outside.

Despite police warnings, many still went to Clapham Common to leave flowers, letters and drawings at a memorial to Everard. They stood in silence and the occasional sound of sobbing could be heard as several police officers looked on. (Justin Tallis /AFP via Getty Images)

Organizers had hoped to hold “Reclaim the Streets” vigils in Everard’s memory on Saturday but cancelled the in-person events after a judge refused to grant an order allowing them to go on despite coronavirus restrictions that bar mass gatherings.

The organizers said they were instead raising funds for women’s causes. They also urged people to light a candle on their doorstep rather than attend large gatherings.

Everard’s killing has led many women to share their fears of walking alone and experiences of being harassed or attacked by men in public, with calls for more action to be taken to address violence against women and abuse. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)

Despite the court ruling, hundreds of people turned up Saturday in the Clapham area of London, near where Everard was last seen.

Many laid flowers at a make-shift memorial. Among them was Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, who was seen pausing for a moment in front of the sea of flowers.

As night fell, people gathered at the site to pay their respects and protest at the lack of security they felt when out alone, with some chanting “shame on you” at police who were present.

Reuters witnesses saw police drag a small number of people away from the gathering on Clapham Common.

Police were not immediately able to confirm the number of arrests.

WATCH | Several detained at Sarah Everard vigil:

Several people were detained during a vigil for a woman murdered in London. The case that has caused widespread outrage in Britain about women’s safety. 1:00

Some at the vigil protested the lack of security they felt when out alone, with some chanting ‘shame on you’ at police who were present. (Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images)

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U.K. police officer charged with murder, kidnapping in Sarah Everard’s death

British police have charged an officer with the kidnap and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, whose disappearance in London last week has sparked anger and fears among women about their safety.

Constable Wayne Couzens, 48, who guarded diplomatic buildings, will appear in court on Saturday. Everard disappeared while walking home from a friend’s house in south London on March 3.

The Metropolitan police had confirmed that a body found in a wood outside London was that of the missing woman.

Her case has led to an outpouring of personal accounts by women of their own experiences and fears of walking streets alone at night, and a campaign for action to address this.

“The investigation continues of course,” Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave told reporters. “I would like to use this opportunity to encourage anyone that thinks they might have useful information to give, to get in contact with us.”

Police officers search a grassy area behind a house in Deal, U.K., on Friday. (Paul Childs/Reuters)

He had said earlier in the day that he understood the hurt and anger sparked by the case.

“Those are sentiments that I share personally,” Ephgrave said. “I also recognize the wider concerns that are being raised quite rightly about the safety of women in public spaces in London and also elsewhere in the country.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said she would do all she could to protect women and girls following the outcry that has followed Everard’s disappearance.

“Every woman & girl should be free to walk our streets without the slightest fear of harassment, abuse or violence,” she said on Twitter.

However, police have been criticized by organizers of a planned “Reclaim These Streets” vigil on Saturday near to where Everard was last seen, after officers said it could not take place due to COVID-19 restrictions.

A woman in her 30s, who media said was the partner of Couzens, was released on police bail after having been detained on suspicion of assisting an offender.

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British police officer’s arrest for missing woman Sarah Everard’s death stuns public, politicians

Britain’s most senior police officer has sought to reassure women it is safe to walk the streets of London at night after one of her officers was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and murdering a 33-year-old woman.

Sarah Everard’s disappearance and the announcement that human remains had been found prompted women to flood social media with posts about the steps they take to keep safe when out alone at night, including clutching keys to use as a weapon and wearing running shoes in case they need to escape.

Others detailed a catalogue of incidents of harassment by men in public over the decades since they were schoolgirls.
“These are so powerful because each and every woman can relate,” Home Secretary Priti Patel said. “Every woman should feel safe to walk on our streets without fear of harassment or violence.”

Everard was last seen at 9:30 p.m. on March 3 as she walked home from a friend’s house in south London. Her image, smiling at the camera or caught on CCTV that evening, has been splashed across British newspapers all week.

‘Women aren’t safe on our streets’

An officer, a man in his 40s whose job it was to guard diplomatic buildings, has been arrested on suspicion of murder, kidnap and indecent exposure, while a woman in her 30s was also detained on suspicion of assisting an offender.

“The disappearance of Sarah and the absolute tragedy around that has really touched a nerve with a lot of women,” said Anna Birley, 31, one of the organizers of a planned Reclaim These Streets vigil to honour Everard and demand change.

“We feel really angry that it’s an expectation put on women that we need to change our behaviour to stay safe. The problem isn’t women, the problem is that women aren’t safe on our streets,” said Birley.

A forensic officer leaves a house in Deal, U.K., in connection with the Everard investigation on Wednesday. (Steve Parsons/PA/The Associated Press)

The London police force has said the officer, who works for the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, had not been on duty the night Everard disappeared. Multiple reports from British news outlets indicate his most recent shift before that was at the U.S. embassy.

Cressida Dick, the head of London’s police force, said she and her colleagues were “utterly appalled” at news a serving officer had been arrested, saying it had sent waves of “shock and anger” through the public and the police.

“I know Londoners will want to know that it is thankfully incredibly rare for a woman to be abducted from our streets,” she said.

“But I completely understand that despite this, women in London and the wider public, particularly those in the area where Sarah went missing, will be worried and may well be feeling scared.”

Reaction from a Labour MP:

Police continued to question the officer on Thursday. A woman in her 30s, who media reported was the officer’s wife, was also detained on suspicion of assisting an offender, but has since been released on bail.

England’s police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct, said it had launched an investigation into the London police force’s handling of the case.

The officer who was arrested was reported to police on Feb. 28 over allegations of indecent exposure in a south London fast food restaurant, several days before Everard disappeared.

Although the remains have not yet been formally identified, Everard’s family released a statement, saying their “beautiful daughter Sarah was taken from us and we are appealing for any information that will help to solve this terrible crime.”

“Sarah was bright and beautiful — a wonderful daughter and sister. She was kind and thoughtful, caring and dependable,” the family said.

Vigil planned for Saturday

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday he was shocked and deeply saddened by the developments.

“The message that needs to be sent is that male violence is something that has to be tackled and challenged and the justice system and society has to wake up to that,” said Jess Phillips, the opposition Labour Party’s spokesperson on domestic violence.

“At the moment we just simply don’t take it seriously as we take other crimes.”

Phillips on Thursday read out in the chamber of the House of Commons the names of 118 women killed in the United Kingdom last year in cases in which a man has been charged or convicted. It took her more than four minutes to read the list.

The hashtags #saraheverard and #TooManyMen trended online as women relayed their experiences, prompting men to ask what they should do differently, such as not walking closely behind a woman on her own.

Some pointed out online the concerning drop in prosecutions of sexual assault, though it’s not clear if it is specifically applicable to the Everard case.

Only 1.5 per cent of 57,516 rape cases recorded in England and Wales led to a charge in the year up to September 2020, official data showed last month, with 42 per cent of cases failing due to evidential difficulties, such as victims not supporting further action.

Rape prosecutions hit a record low of 2,102 in 2019-2020, down about 30 per cent year on year, while convictions fell by 25 per cent to 1,439, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Amid warnings the system is failing survivors, the CPS has set out a five-year blueprint to ensure sex offenders are brought to justice, including improving communications with victims and working with police to strengthen cases.

The Reclaim The Streets vigil is set to be held Saturday night at Clapham Common, near the place where Everard was
last seen.

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Sarah Fuller becomes 1st woman to score in Power 5 football game

Sarah Fuller became the first woman to score in a Power Five conference football game by kicking an extra point for Vanderbilt on Saturday.

The goalkeeper for Vanderbilt’s Southeastern Conference women’s soccer champs didn’t get a chance on the Commodores’ first two drives against in-state rival Tennessee. But the Commodores drove late in the first quarter, running for a first down on fourth-and-1.

On the next play, Ken Seals threw an 18-yard pass to Cam Johnson for a touchdown. Fuller, listed second out of three available kickers on the depth chart, came out for the extra point, which tied the game at 7 with 1:50 left in the first quarter.

The 6-foot-2 senior put the ball through the uprights and celebrated by pulling her first in before slapping high-fives with teammates. She ran off the field with a big smile with her family in the stands all with their arms up in the air.

An official gave Fuller the ball on the sideline.

WATCH | Sarah Fuller makes historic kick for Vanderbilt:

Sarah Fuller makes history by kicking an extra point in Vanderbilt’s game against Tenneseee. 1:17

Fuller made history as the first female to play in a Power Five conference game on Nov. 28 with a squib kick to open the second half. She has remained on the roster even as Vanderbilt’s other kickers came out of quarantine and rejoined the team.

No woman before Fuller had appeared in an SEC game or for any Power Five team. Liz Heaston became the first woman to score in college football with two extra points for Willamette of NAIA on Oct. 18, 1997.

Katie Hnida was the first woman to score at the Football Bowl Subdivision level with two extra points for New Mexico on Aug. 30, 2003.

April Goss was the second, with an extra point for Kent State in 2015. Tonya Butler was the first woman to kick a field goal in an NCAA game for Division II West Alabama on Sept. 13, 2003.

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Sarah Fuller set to make history by suiting up for Vanderbilt men’s football team

Women’s soccer player Sarah Fuller will don a football uniform Saturday for Vanderbilt and is poised to become the first woman to play in a Power 5 game when the Commodores visit Missouri.

“Let’s make history,” senior Sarah Fuller wrote Friday on Twitter with a photo of herself wearing a football jersey with a soccer ball between her feet while holding a football in her hands.

No woman has appeared in an Southeastern Conference football game or for any Power 5 gridiron team. Liz Heaston became the first woman to score with two extra points for Willamette in NAIA on Oct. 18, 1997.

Katie Hnida was the first woman to score at the Football Bowl Subdivision level with two extra points for New Mexico on Aug. 30, 2003. April Goss was the second with an extra point for Kent State in 2015. Tonya Butler was the first woman to kick a field goal in an NCAA game for Division II West Alabama on Sept. 13, 2003.

A senior from Wylie, Texas, Fuller made three saves last weekend as Vanderbilt upset top-seeded Arkansas 3-1 in women’s soccer to capture the program’s first Southeastern Conference Tournament title since 1994. Fuller played every minute of the tournament and said it’s an honour Vanderbilt called on her to help out.

She’ll be wearing “Play Like A Girl” on the back of her helmet.

“I think it’s amazing and incredible. But I’m also trying to separate that because I know this is a job I need to do and I want to help the team out and I want to do the best that I can,” Fuller said. “Placing that historical aspect aside just helps me focus in on what I need to do. I don’t want to let them down in anyway.

COVID-19 protocols and restrictions have left coach Derek Mason with a limited number of specialists available against Missouri. That’s why he reached out to soccer coach Darren Ambrose for some help.

And if she is called upon to assist, Fuller will make history.

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Sarah Palin and Todd Palin Finalized Their Divorce in March

Sarah Palin and Todd Palin Finalized Their Divorce in March | Entertainment Tonight

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Sarah Jessica Parker Celebrates 23 Years of Marriage With Matthew Broderick

Sarah Jessica Parker Celebrates 23 Years of Marriage With Matthew Broderick | Entertainment Tonight

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‘Survivor: Winners at War’: Jeremy, Sarah and Kim All Make Major Moves After Jeff Probst’s ‘Historic’ Reveal

‘Survivor: Winners at War’: Jeremy, Sarah and Kim All Make Major Moves After Jeff Probst’s ‘Historic’ Reveal | Entertainment Tonight

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Sarah Sjostrom dominates at International Swimming League finale

Sarah Sjostrom earned season MVP honours and her Energy Standard team won the grand finale of the International Swimming League on Saturday.

The Swedish swimmer received $ 50,000 in edging out American star Caeleb Dressel by 3 1/2 points. He was named MVP of the two-day grand finale in Las Vegas, a prize worth $ 10,000 in the league that features men and women competing equally. 

“I got beat by a girl today and I’m all right with that,” a smiling Dressel said. “I don’t see that as any honour lost. I get beat by girls all the time in practice. We’re all in the same sport together.”

Sjostrom totalled 243.5 points to 240 for Dressel, who swam for Cali Condors. Aussie Emma McKeon of London Roar was third at 192.

“This is one of the best parts of the ISL,” Sjostrom said. “I finally got the chance to race against men.”

Sjostrom and her Europe-based team comprised of 14 men and 14 women split $ 100,000. They celebrated by chanting “Energy! Energy!” before jumping into the 25-meter temporary pool inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center on the Strip and later hoisting the heavy trophy.

WATCH | Sjostrom swims to MVP honours:

Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom wins the women’s 50m skins, helps Energy Standard win inaugural ISL title. 1:47

Energy Standard rallied to win after London Roar led for most of the final day. Energy Standard totalled 453.5 points to 444 for London Roar.

Energy Standard won the mixed 4×100 freestyle relay, anchored by Canadian Penny Oleksiak, who outlasted Aussie Emma McKeon of London Roar on the final lap to pick up crucial points after being down 37 earlier in the session.

“On paper we were not the strongest team. We won when it mattered,” Energy Standard general manager James Gibson said. “We’re got swimmers on the team that probably aren’t household names and they were out there scrapping.”

WATCH | Toronto’s Penny Oleksiak anchors Energy Standard to win in ISL finale:

Canada’s Penny Oleksiak and Kayla Sanchez helps their team to victory on the final day of the ISL final. 4:36

Cali Condors took third in the team standings at 415.5, followed by LA Current at 318 in front of a larger crowd in the 3,800-capacity arena than for Friday’s session.

It all came down to the last two races: the women’s and men’s 50 free skins, a three-round showdown. Four of the eight swimmers in the finals were eliminated after the first race. Two more were cut after the second race, leaving the top two to duel it out. 

For the women, that was Sjostrom and Aussie Cate Campbell of London Roar.

Sjostrom led all the way and finished first in 24.32 seconds. Campbell touched in 25.63. Sjostrom’s victory was worth triple points, leaving them trailing London Roar by 15 1/2 points going into the men’s skins.

“I was racing some of my biggest competitors in almost every race I had,” Sjostom said. “I’m not used to that top racing so often. I felt like i was swimming the world championships four times this season.”

The men’s 50 free pitted Dressel against Frenchman Florent Manaudou of Energy Standard. Dressel won easily in 21.46 to 23.83 for Manaudou. A day earlier, Dressel had erased Manaudou’s short-course world record in the same event.

WATCH | Dressel wins the men’s 50-metre free:

American Caeleb Dressel captures the tournament MVP, while Florent Manaudou’s performance helps Energy Standard earn the inaugural ISL championship. 1:15

“Maybe in the future they will do four rounds in the skins and I can race against Flo,” Sjostrom said.

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