Police accused of mocking transgender woman during arrest

Witnesses claim the woman had her wig ripped off and handbag and purse emptied on to the street

Jerome Taylor
Thursday 21 February 2013 19:40
A shot from the video showing the transgendered woman being held down by police
A shot from the video showing the transgendered woman being held down by police

Police officers in central London have allegedly called a transgendered woman “not normal” as they arrested her for a public order offence in Soho on yesterday afternoon.

Witnesses to the arrest on Wardour Street in the heart of London’s gay quarter claim police mocked 49-year-old Jose Dos Santos, taking off her wig and pouring the contents of her handbag out onto the floor.

Video footage emerged purporting to show her being held down by police.

Gay Star News spoke to two witnesses who claimed that officers used insulting language during the arrest.

“The victim then had her wig ripped from her head, her handbag and purse literally emptied out on the road, so her personal belongings were damaged and scattered around her,” the witnesses, who only gave their surnames as Johnson and Shayan, said. “Meanwhile police officers mocked her for her dress and having feminine items in her handbag shouting at her: ‘You're not normal. We'll let you get you up in a few minutes but you need to act like a normal human being.’”

The Metropolitan Police told The Independent that a complaint had been received and that the incident was being investigated by the Directorate of Professional Standards, the body that looks into the conduct of officers when allegations are made against them.

Ms Dos Santos was charged under Section 5 of the Public Order Act and appeared by virtual link in Westminster Magistrates Court yesterday where she was bailed until May.

According to those present, officers arrested the woman after she vomited outside the Le Pain Quotidien restaurant on Wardour Street shortly after 3pm. A crowd gathered and multiple people shot video of the arrest on their mobile phones. As of this evening only one video appeared to have been uploaded publicly, purporting to show Ms Dos Santos lying prostrate on the floor. A police officer responds: “If you keep putting your legs up I’m going to keep standing on them. Just relax”.