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Southall Black Sisters denounce ‘institutionally racist system’ as Tube charges dropped

CHARGES were dropped today against the director of a leading anti-racism organisation and her two friends who complained about a violent racist attack on the Tube only to be charged with assault themselves.

Selma Taha, the executive director of the Southall Black Sisters, along with Divina Riggon and Danae Thomas said they were assaulted in a racist incident last September.

They told of how a white woman made monkey sounds and called them “black bitches” and “slaves” and that she pulled clumps of hair from Ms Taha and bit her flesh, while an off-duty officer failed to intervene and de-escalate the incident.

When they arrived at King’s Cross, the women said they challenged the apathy of the officer and asked him to arrest the assailant.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) then charged the women with common assault by beating.

Ms Riggon and Ms Thomas were also charged with public order offences in relation to their alleged conduct towards a white transport officer, which were dropped on July 2. 

Now the CPS has dropped charges against all three saying it was unlikely to lead to a conviction.

The assailant accepted only a caution for racially aggravated conduct in relation to one instance of racist abuse. 

Ms Taha said that the last 10 months had reaffirmed her “lack of faith in the system and served as a daily reminder of the challenges we are up against as black, minoritised and migrant victim-survivors seeking a just response from an institutionally racist system.

“I thank everyone who has supported us for the past several months — your strength and solidarity have kept us going.”

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