02/07/2014 11:38 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Mum Handcuffed In Front Of Son For Swearing At Pedestrian



A mum has accused police of heavy-handedness after she was handcuffed in front of her son after she swore at a pedestrian who walked out in front of her car.

Dee St Phorose, 50, was arrested by four police officers before being charged with a public order offence.

The incident happened on Boxing Day last year when Dee was travelling through Shepherd's Bush, west London with her fiance Russell Shrimplin and their son Oliver, eight.

Russell, 51, was driving their Audi A6 when the couple say a man ignored a red light at a pedestrian crossing and stepped in front of them with a buggy.

Russell was forced to make an emergency stop and Oliver was thrown forward and hurt his neck.

Dee shouted 't**t' at the man through her open window and her comments were overheard by two policemen standing nearby.

The officers told Russell to pull into a nearby petrol station 'for a chat'.

Dee, a full-time carer for Oliver, told the Mail: "I was very offended when [the officer] leaned into the car and told me it wasn't Christmassy behaviour."

She added: "I'm a Christian and he was telling me it wasn't Christian behaviour. We had a dispute about the word 't**t' and whether it was a swear word.

"If they had just issued me with a fine, that would've been the end of the matter but they didn't.

"Four police officers came in total and I was handcuffed in front of my son, he was extremely distressed, especially when [I was] dragged further away.

"The handcuffs were too tight and I got bruising - the pain was excruciating and I was screaming. The whole thing was disgusting. I feel extremely violated."

Dee was taken to Hammersmith Police Station in a van where she says she was left outside for 20 minutes.

After finally seeing the custody sergeant, the mum was given a £90 fine but refused to pay it and instead was charged with a Section 5 public order offence of causing alarm or distress.

However, City of London Magistrates have now thrown out the case against her because of a lack of evidence she offended anyone.

Pc Richard Harvey told the court he arrested Dee because she refused to give him her details, but she and her fiance dispute that.

He said: "She was very angry and kept saying she called the man a t**t because he was pushing a child into the road and repeatedly said the word t**t very loudly and there were pedestrians around.

"I asked Ms St Phorose for her name and address because I thought it could be dealt with sensibly but she refused.

"In the end, I arrested her and explained why - saying it was for a section 5 public order act because she was causing distress and alarm to passersby. I put her in handcuffs because of our failure to communicate."

Chair of the bench Jan Carr said: "Ms St Phorose was clearly upset by what she had witnessed and aggravated by the police. The situation escalated resulting in arrest.

"However, I have to find beyond reasonable doubt that we are certain that Ms St Phorose's behaviour caused alarm and distress. We are not satisfied this is the case."

Speaking after the case, Dee said: "I finally had my day in court and common sense prevails and I can now pursue my complaint for the way I had been violated."

She has now lodged a complaint with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and is awaiting a further response.

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