A video of a 16 year old girl (CR) with autism recently went viral on TikTok due to her treatment by the police. Ison Harrison has been asked to represent CR and assist with a claim for compensation for unlawful arrest and detention and argue that the arrest and detention was not necessary.
Below is a summary of the events that led to CR’s arrest.
Ison Harrison have been instructed to take up the case for their client CR, who was arrested by the police from her own home on 7th of August 2023, after making a comment to her mother about a police officer.
CR is a vulnerable 16-year-old girl who suffers from autism. The police had been called to assist to protect CR by her sister as she had seen CR, who does not usually drink alcohol or leave the house after dark, in Leeds town centre, seemingly drunk, putting herself in a potentially vulnerable situation. It seems CR left a friend’s house, where she had arranged to sleep over, on her own after having drunk alcohol.
When CR arrived home escorted by the police, her mother took her from the grasp of the police officer, and as CR left to go to bed, she commented to her mother, that the police officer was a lesbian.
Until the police video footage is obtained, we do not know if this phrase about the police officer being lesbian was meant to be insulting or not.
Nevertheless, the police officer was insulted by the comment and proceeded to barge into the house in an attempt to arrest CR for making a homophobic comment.
CR hid in a corner whilst her mother protested with the police officer explaining again that CR suffered from autism and therefore could make unfiltered comments out loud, and explained that CR was not homophobic. In fact, her grandma is a lesbian and she had lesbian friends.
There was a stand off and it ended up with eight police officers in three police vehicles attending the home in order to arrest this young girl.
Eventually, CR was arrested and detained at Leeds police station for almost 24 hours before being released and eventually no further action being taken against her.
Although the police officer wanted to arrest CR for making a homophobic comment, it was determined that the offence she was being arrested for was an offence against section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986 of causing intentional, harassment alarm or distress with intent to cause a person, harassment alarm or distress whilst using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour, thereby causing that or another person harassment alarm and distress.
Although the comment had been made in CR’s own home, the police officer was stood outside of the home at the time of the comment, and therefore the comment would fall into the realms of a Public Order Act offence.
When undertaking an arrest, the arrest will become unlawful if the arrest was not necessary.
CR argues on this occasion such an arrest was not necessary and was totally disproportionate to the act or phrase which was used.
The phrase was not spoken directly to the police officer, but CR made a comment to her mother about the police officer whilst she was on her way to bed.
Was it necessary or proportionate for a police officer to seek to arrest and detain CR for making such a one-off comment to someone else in her own home? And then for eight police officers to attend at her home in order to arrest this vulnerable young girl who suffers from a disability?
Police officers are given guidance as to when a person should be or can be arrested.
Paragraph 2.4 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act code G 2012 indicates the power of arrest is only exercisable if the constable has reasonable grounds for believing that it is necessary to arrest the person.
Paragraph 2.8 of the guidelines provide ‘in considering the individual circumstances, the constable must take into account the situation of the victim the nature of the offence, the circumstances of the suspect and the needs of the investigative process’.
And Note 2C of the guidelines provide ‘the officer should consider that the arrest is the practicable, sensible and proportionate option in all the circumstances at the time the decision is made’.
The officer was completely aware of CR’s vulnerabilities and her disability, as she had collected her from the town centre, and experienced CR throughout the journey. She had been notified of CR‘s vulnerability and disability by her sister and her mother, but still chose to undertake the arrest and detention. Indeed, at one point during the the process, the officer said she did not care about CR’s conditions.
Ison Harrison Solicitors intends to assist CR in a claim for compensation for unlawful, arrest and detention and argue that the arrest and detention was not necessary. Also due to the actions of the police officer and the method by which she sought to arrest CR there is also an argument for misfeasance in public office.
If a person has been unlawfully arrested and detained by the police, they are entitled to claim compensation for such arrest and detention on a number of basis.
- General damages for the arrest and detention. The amount dictated by the length of time the person was forced to remain in custody, and the conditions of that custody. Any personal injury suffered during the arrest and detention would also be classed as an item of general damage.
- Aggravated damages, if the police have acted to aggravate matters by causing injury to feeling, for example, insulting, humiliating, degrading, or distressing conduct
- Exemplary damages, where the police have acted unconstitutionally or oppressive in their behaviour.
- Special damages for any identifiable item of expense incurred by the claimant or because of the arrest and detention.
CR will also argue that her human rights were breached by the arrest and detention pursuant to article 8 of the ECHR
Ison Harrison are able to advise on matters involving complaints or claims for compensation to be made against the police when police officers go beyond their powers, causing harm, damage or loss.
If you have been treated unfairly by the police and want to investigate whether you are entitled to compensation, please telephone and speak to a member of our Personal Injury and Actions Against The Police team on 0113 284 5000 or click here to find out more and complete our online enquiry form.