Black charity boss bitten and verbally abused in racist attack on Tube
Selma Taha later sought medical treatment, receiving a tetanus shot and antibiotics for her injuries
Selma Taha – Picture Courtesy: The BBC
Selma Taha, the director of Southall Black Sisters, a women’s organisation, found herself in the midst of a racially-motivated attack in an incident that took place on Friday (29) in the London Underground.
The altercation unfolded when Taha and her two friends were on a Northern line train and despite the presence of an off-duty police officer near the attacker, a 30-year-old woman, there was no immediate intervention, The BBC reported.
According to Taha, the situation escalated when the alleged attacker pushed a suitcase toward them and responded with derogatory racist language, including calling them “slaves.”
The verbal altercation turned physical, with the attacker even biting Taha through her clothes and pulling out clumps of her hair.
Passengers attempted to intervene verbally, including the off-duty detective constable who only identified himself after the incident.
A livid and furious Taha confronted the off-duty Metropolitan Police officer, feeling he had not intervened effectively. She said that he claimed to have “only heard a verbal escalation.”
When British Transport Police (BTP) officers arrived, Taha inquired why the woman was not being arrested, but she said the officers instead criticised them for shouting.
Also, despite her request, an ambulance never arrived, and she received medical attention from station staff.
British Transport Police arrested the alleged attacker on suspicion of assault and a racially-aggravated public order offense. She was subsequently released on bail pending further investigations to ascertain the complete details of the incident aboard the train.
Taha later sought medical treatment, receiving a tetanus shot and antibiotics for her injuries.
After not receiving any updates on the case, Taha took the initiative to approach London’s Victim’s Commissioner and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC). Additionally, she filed a complaint against the officer with the Metropolitan Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards.
The Metropolitan Police issued a statement acknowledging the reported incident of an alleged assault on a woman by another woman, which was reported to the British Transport Police.
The statement indicated that an off-duty Metropolitan Police officer was present during the incident and immediate inquiries are being conducted to determine the precise circumstances surrounding the incident.
They also confirmed receiving a complaint through the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards.
Subsequently, the matter has been referred to the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) for further investigation.
The Met Police also said they were investigating the situation and providing welfare support to the officer involved.
MOPAC has said that it has been in communication with Southall Black Sisters, and the Metropolitan Police to ensure that the individuals involved are receiving suitable support.
MOPAC also welcomed the IOPC’s independent assessment.
Southall Black Sisters, the organisation Taha represents has called for action against both the assailant and the police officer involved.