Met Police Face Settlement After BLM Arrests

( – London’s Metropolitan Police came to a settlement agreement with three journalists nearly a decade after police arrested them at a Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest, for which the department also apologized.

In December 2014, three journalists went to Shepherd’s Bush to cover a protest at the Westfield Shopping Centre in response to the death of Eric Garner while under arrest in Staten Island, New York City. Garner’s death, similar to George Floyd’s in 2020, sparked widespread outrage and protests internationally.

Suspecting he was illegally selling loose cigarettes, Garner was approached by police officers who attempted to arrest him. In the effort, Garner was thrown to the ground and subdued with a chokehold, during which he said, “I can’t breathe.” He then passed out and was later declared dead. His final words were adopted by BLM protesters as a slogan.

The three journalists, all of them National Union of Journalists members, were detained by London’s Metropolitan Police while covering the protest. Photographer Jess Hurd, video journalist Jason Parkinson, and another unnamed journalist later sued the police for stopping them from working. Hurd also claimed one of the officers struck her in the face during the confrontation leading to their arrest. The three journalists were among hundreds of other people arrested that day.

After a legal battle of almost ten years, a settlement was finally reached. Part of the reason it dragged on was because some of the key evidence in the case went missing. The Metropolitan Police have now agreed to pay the plaintiffs and issued a formal apology for arresting them. A spokesperson for the police said in a statement that they “absolutely” recognize media rights and have worked with the union “over many years” to create “professional working arrangements” between police and journalists through “protocols and guidelines” that are mutually agreed upon.

Hurd said the apology was “welcome,” but did not solve the problem. She also questioned how video footage of her assault and arrest went missing. Parkinson welcomed the apology, too, but expressed similar concerns about the missing footage and how long the case dragged on.

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