In Sweden a police investigation has been initiated into an incident in which a heavily pregnant woman is forcibly removed from a subway set by two security agents and is pressed down on a couch while her daughter is crying. On social media several videos of the incident surfaced, which according to many testify to racism.
The facts took place on Thursday evening at the Hotorget station in Stockholm. The black woman could not find her proof of payment, and because the agents suspected they were black, they forced her to leave but she refused.
On video images you can see how the woman is dragged out of a metro device by two security agents, with her crying daughter in their wake. Then the woman, whose bare pregnant belly is clearly visible, is brutally pressed on a bench while she tries to resist shrieking.
The woman and several eyewitnesses told Swedish media afterwards that the agents grabbed her and dealt roughly after she told them she had a valid ticket, but could not find it. Since she was tired and was in pain, she refused to leave. She told the Swedish newspaper Expressen that she had found her ticket shortly after the facts.
After the incident, the woman was rushed to the hospital to check whether her baby was still ok after the tumult. A second check-up followed on Friday. “It’s terrible. I feel so bad. I have bruises everywhere,” she told Expressen.
The two security officers involved have been suspended for the time being. “There are a lot of smartphone videos that suggest that the security agents have acted too harshly,” Henrik Palmer, from Metro company SL, told the Swedish public broadcaster SVT. “Unfortunately, it can be difficult to make reasonable decisions. Business can be stressful. It is clear that this incident was not handled correctly from start to finish,” says Palmer.
The security guards are accused of racism on social media. According to the popular Swedish blogger Lovette Jallowis, it’s no surprise that Sweden of African origin was “racially profiled and mistreated”. “All I can do is hope that the baby is doing well,” she wrote on Instagram with images of the incident.
According to the Swedish feminist, anti-racist organization and Men for Gender Equality, it is not the first time that security agents approach people too harshly. “When it comes to coloured’s – non-white Sweden – we see a lot of evidence that security agents use force, sometimes when that is totally unnecessary,” says Alan Ali. The organization argues that both the public transport company and the security firm organize courses on racism and reproductive health.