Black girl strip-searched at school for allegedly smelling like marijuana
London police officers are under investigation after wrongfully strip-searching a teenager.
Metropolitan police officers in London are under investigation two years after a Black girl was strip-searched at school after a teacher wrongfully suspected her of having marijuana.
According to The Guardian, the 15-year-old girl, who is referred to anonymously as “Child Q” in court papers, was taking an exam at her school in Hackney, East London when her teacher called police claiming she smelled like marijuana.
After a search of the girl’s bag, coat, scarf and other belongings yielded no drugs, she was subjected to an invasive strip-search by female police officers without any other adult present and without her parents being notified. No drugs were found on the student.
In a statement released through her lawyer on Wednesday (March 16), the teenager said she was forced to remove all of her clothes and was on her period at the time.
A report by the Hackney council said cops also forced the girl to bend over, spread her buttocks and cough during the search. The teen’s family says she’s had to seek out mental health services since the traumatic incident and suffers from self-harm.
The Hackney council’s report said racism was “likely” a factor in the search and called the incident “humiliating, traumatizing and utterly shocking.”
“Professionals treated her as an adult. She was searched as an adult,” the girl’s mother said. “Is it because of her skin? Her hair? Why her? My daughter is a changed person. We try to reassure her but looking to the future, we can’t say she will ever recover.”
The case is currently under investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct. The three cops involved are facing potential disciplinary action pending the outcome of the investigation, but The Guardian reports that they have remained on full police duties since the incident.
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