Met officer who 'manhandled' and wrongly arrested mother over bus fare guilty of assault

17 May 2024, 16:16

PC Perry Lathwood found guilty of assault for manhandling woman on bus
PC Perry Lathwood found guilty of assault for manhandling woman on bus. Picture: Alamy

By StephenRigley

A Metropolitan Police officer who "manhandled" a woman as she was wrongly accused of bus fare evasion has been convicted of assault.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

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

Ms Agyemang was dropping her son off at her mother's house before heading to an appointment in Marylebone scheduled for 12.30pm.

Police officers were helping ticket inspectors on a bus in Croydon at the time.

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.

Metropolitan Police constable Perry Lathwood arriving at City Of London Magistrates' Court
Metropolitan Police constable Perry Lathwood arriving at City Of London Magistrates' Court. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Moment woman 'carrying machete' is arrested by taser-wielding police officers on north London residential street

Read More: Police chief urges Premier League clubs to contribute more to match day policing costs amid £28m blackhole

At Westminster Magistrates' Court, Deputy Senior District Judge Tan Ikram ruled it was "not necessary" for Lathwood to "grab the woman's arm, arrest her and handcuff her".

He continued: "She was difficult... but there were not reasonable grounds to suggest arrest was necessary.

"The officer made an error of judgment and over reacted. Handcuffing inflamed the situation even further.

"I find you guilty of assault."

Lathwood, who wore a blue checked suit in the dock, did not react as the judge gave his verdict.

Mr Ikram said Lathwood's claims that he acted to protect Ms Agyemang's child were "fanciful" and that he "simply did not believe him".

"The officer's evidence lacked all credibility," he added.

Paul Jarvis, prosecuting told the trial Lathwood put a hand on the woman, 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.

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.

Ms Agyemang 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."

Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) regional director Mel Palmer said: "Any use of force by officers should be reasonable, proportionate and justifiable in the circumstances.

"This was a high-profile incident that caused significant concern, particularly in the Croydon community, after footage of the incident was published online.

"We carried out an independent and impartial investigation to establish the facts surrounding this incident, including the actions of the police officers involved.

"The decision to refer a file of evidence to the CPS to consider criminal charges is not something we take lightly and this was done after careful consideration of the evidence, including liaison with the CPS."

The police watchdog said it will now liaise with the force to progress disciplinary proceedings for the officer.

Lathwood, who is attached to the Metropolitan Police's Road Traffic Policing Command, will be sentenced at the same court on June 14.