Police officer still in hospital after ‘vigil for Lavaun Witter’ turned violent

Katherine Johnston (17 February, 2021)

A 42-year-old woman has been charged after the disturbance on Saturday

42253Victim: Lavaun Witter

A police officer remains in hospital with serious injuries and six other colleagues left injured after ‘a vigil for murdered Lavaun Witter’ turned violent on Saturday night.

Police were called to a ‘disturbance’ in Manaton Close following reports that an event was taking place in memory of the 22-year-old, from Peckham. First responders at the scene who tried to disperse the crowd, which was in breach of COVID-19 regulations, were attacked with hurled missiles, it was reported.

As the situation escalated, backup was called in from across London.  Officers could only stand down at 3am, after a Section 35 was authorised.

The order was imposed until 7am on Sunday, covering the area between Brayards Road; Rye Lane; Peckham Rye; Nunhead Lane and Gordon Road.

Speaking to the News on Tuesday, Chief Superintendent Daniel Ivey said one of his officers was still in hospital being treated for a suspected dislocated shoulder and knee; each sustained during a fall. The six other injured officers are now all back at work with minor cuts and bruises.

He also confirmed a 42-year-old woman had been charged with assaulting an emergency worker.

“We will be reviewing all available evidence along with body-worn camera footage and anticipate it will take us some time to investigate,” he said.

“I want to make it clear that assaults on police officers upholding the law will not be tolerated and we will be reviewing all available evidence to make sure we bring people to justice.”

He stressed that despite the distress caused by the murder, and the difficulty for communities  collectively to grieve during lockdown, the law was very clear and gatherings were illegal. Police have increasingly focused resources on tackling rule-breakers to help ease the pressure on overburdened hospitals in Southwark.

Specialist family liaison officers are supporting Lavaun’s bereaved family, who are said to be aware of and engaging with the investigation into Saturday’s incident.

Twenty-two-year-old Lavaun was fatally stabbed outside a block of flats in Croydon on February 5 during a weekend of bloodshed across the capital. In a tribute, Lavaun’s family said the aspiring computer engineer was ‘destined for greatness and he wanted to fly high’. At the time of going to press, no one had been arrested in connection with his murder.

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