Sanskriti Sanghi

CPS Must Drop the Racist Charges Against #KingsCross3

On the night of Friday, the 29th September, Selma Taha, Executive Director of Southall Black Sisters (SBS), and her friends Divina Riggon and Danae Thomas were verbally and physically assaulted in a racist incident on London public transport. The assailant, a white woman, made monkey sounds and called Selma, Divina and Danae “Black bitches”, and “slaves”. The abuse escalated into physical violence. The attacker pulled clumps of hair off Selma and her friend and bit Selma’s flesh, leaving a deeply embedded imprint of her teeth which necessitated tetanus and hepatitis injections and antibiotics.

An off-duty Metropolitan Detective Constable was present in the tube carriage but failed to intervene to de-escalate the incident. When the train arrived at King’s Cross station, the three women had to challenge the inactivity and apathy of the police to treat the matter seriously and arrest the assailant. 

Some months later, in a deeply shocking development, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) made the following charging decisions:

  • No further action is to be taken against the assailant in relation to the assault. In relation to the assailant’s racist abuse, she has been offered and accepted a caution for racially aggravated conduct contrary to s4A of the Public Order Act, in relation to one instance of racist abuse which she has admitted. No further action is to be taken in relation to other instances of racist abuse by her during the incident.
  • Selma, Divina and Danae have all been charged with common assault by beating. 
  • Danae has also been charged with a racially aggravated public order offence, in relation to alleged conduct towards a white British Transport police officer on the platform at King’s Cross. 
  • Divina has also been charged with a public order offence, but without the racial aggravation, again in relation to alleged conduct towards the same police officer at the tube station after the attack. 

The trial date is set for 10th, 11th and 12th July at Highbury Magistrates’ Court.

Charging Selma, Divina and Danae, who were the victims of a racist attack, is a grave miscarriage of justice, and an act of criminalising Black women who dared to call out racist abuse and resist racist violence.

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