Monday, 15 Jul 2024

Woman 'had hair ripped out in racist attack after asking woman to move her bag'

A woman has revealed the racist abuse she suffered after asking a woman to move her bag while on the Tube.

Selma Taha said she and her friends were called slaves and their aggressor made monkey noises at them.

The incident started when the alleged attacker pushed her suitcase towards them, almost hitting one of them as they travelled from Camden Town to King’s Cross.

When they asked her to move the luggage Selma said the woman told her she ‘doesn’t like black women’ and ‘it’s not my fault you’re lesser than me’.

After they confronted her, a fight broke out in which Selma was bitten and a clump of her hair was ripped out.

Other passengers intervened including an off-duty police officer.

Ms Taha said the off-duty officer ‘shouted’ at her friend to ‘take her hands off the woman, calm down and be quiet’, according to the BBC.

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‘But my friend told him the woman still had her hands in her hair,’ Ms Taha said.

‘The woman then started taking out clumps of her real hair; it was everywhere.

‘Then she went for my hair. She bit me through my clothes. I could feel burning and was screaming “she’s biting me”.

‘I thought she would actually come away with flesh in her mouth.’

It was only when all the women got off the train at King’s Cross station that the off-duty detective told them who he was, Ms Taha claims.

She said: ‘I was livid, I was furious at him. I was screaming at him and swearing, saying: “You let this happen… it’s because of you I was attacked”.’

Ms Taha says when she confronted the officer, who did not physically intervene, he told her he had ‘only heard a verbal escalation’.

According to Ms Taha, when the British Transport Police arrived, she asked them why they were not arresting the woman but says the officers ‘complained at us shouting’.

Despite asking for an ambulance, Ms Taha said no paramedics came to her aid and she was instead assessed by station staff, who treated her.

She later had a tetanus shot at hospital when a rash appeared around the wounds.

The alleged attacker, a 30-year-old woman, was arrested at King’s Cross on suspicion of assault and a racially-aggravated public order offence and has since been bailed while investigations continue.

But Ms Taha is furious at the way the off-duty officer handled the incident and wants action to be taken against him.

She said: ‘I felt he validated her behaviour and made her emboldened. And it validated my experience of feeling worthless.’

Southall Black Sisters, a not-for-profit organisation which was established in 1979, said: ‘We demand that appropriate action be taken against the assailant and the police officer.’

Ms Taha said she has also approached London’s Victim’s Commissioner and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), as well as submitting a complaint about the officer to the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards.

Both the Met Police and British Transport Police are investigating and the Independent Office for Police Conduct

Appearing in court last month, a police officer denied punching and choking teenage boy at a Tube station.

Earlier this year, a Dad who hurled racist abuse at a Tube worker and slashed his head with a glass bottle was jailed.

Crime on the underground soared by almost 40% in comparison to pre-pandemic levels, according to TfL’s most recent figures.

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