A woman whose photo went viral after her arrest at a vigil for Sarah Everard has said she “almost cried” when she heard Dame Cressida Dick had resigned as Metropolitan Police Commissioner.
Patsy Stevenson was thrust into the limelight when police pinned her to ground during her arrest at the vigil in south London on March 13 for Ms Everard, who had been kidnapped while walking home before being raped and murdered by a serving Met officer.
As well as its handling of the case, the force has also faced a barrage of criticism over its policing of the vigil which saw women bundled to the ground and arrested for breaching Covid-19 laws.
In a Sunday Times interview, the 28-year-old Ms Stevenson said she “stopped in the street and almost cried” when she heard the commissioner had resigned.
She said: “I thought, thank God. Not only has she presided over a force where systemic misogyny and racism has been allowed to thrive, she’s failed to ensure the perpetrators are prosecuted.
“But the fact that she’s out doesn’t fix what’s going on. This can’t be a token gesture. There has to be top-down, radical change.”
The physics student, who has since launched legal action against the police, told the newspaper officers used “brute force” to intimidate her and other women that night, adding she had previously trusted the force and thought police brutality was “rare”.
“It felt like they were telling us not to mess with them. I’d always trusted the police, so it was unexpected and shocking,” Ms Stevenson said.
“I could never have imagined something like that could happen to me… I was confused and terrified.
“All the time I was being handcuffed and taken away I was thinking, this is how Couzens got Sarah into his car. I knew they were going to put me in their van but I didn’t know what they were going to do to me or what they could get away with.”
The same laws were falsely invoked by Met officer Wayne Couzens to arrest Ms Everard as she walked home through Clapham.
Couzens is serving a whole-life order for his crimes, while prosecutors are separately considering charging three of his former colleagues over allegations they shared racist and misogynistic messages with him.