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A MET Police sergeant had a woman strip-searched after she offered legal advice to a 15-year-old boy, a disciplinary hearing was told today.
Philosophy lecturer Konstancja Duff says she still suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and flashbacks after her ordeal.
Ms Duff was arrested after trying to offer the boy a card containing legal advice during a stop-and-search in east London in May 2013.
Sergeant Kurtis Howard now faces possible dismissal for alleged misconduct after he was said to authorise Ms Duff’s strip-search at Stoke Newington Police Station.
She was arrested on suspicion of obstructing police on the Wilton Estate in Hackney when she tried to give the boy the Green and Black Cross “bust card,” which is designed to help those arrested at a protest.
Ms Duff complained to the Independent Office of Police Conduct following her acquittal of obstructing and assaulting police.
During the search, her clothes were cut off and she claims she was carried through the police station with her breasts exposed wearing nothing but a paper suit, while being taunted by officers.
She told the Guardian: “I don’t think that what happened to me was unusual and I’m special.
“I think police routinely use these kinds of tactics, and I’m in the lucky position to do something about it.”
Ms Duff told a Met police misconduct panel: “I was concerned about [the boy’s] welfare, he was clearly distressed and I was also concerned about the problem – which is quite widely known – of racial profiling.
“I wanted to make sure he was aware of his legal rights around stop-and-search.”
Ms Duff added that she had the card after it was handed to her at a protest.
The teenager she tried to help was later found to have a six-inch knife, but Ms Duff said she had just been trying to stand up for his rights.
“Obviously I had no idea he had a knife on him, but the principle of legal rights is that they are for everyone – what I had been arrested for was standing up for someone’s legal rights,” she said.
Mr Howard denies misconduct. The hearing continues.
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