An IT consultant is suing police for being ‘wrongfully’ arrested in Waitrose and claims she was strip-searched by police for refusing to wear a facemask while shopping despite being exempt.
Juliet Johnson says she was quizzed by store security and a manager at the store in Chichester, West Sussex, about not wearing a mask, which was compulsory at the time.
Although she said she had ‘proved’ she did not need to wear one as she suffers from an autoimmune disease which affects her breathing, police were called to the store.
Ms Johnson says that while browsing groceries she was then confronted by two officers and subsequently arrested, taken to a nearby police station, quizzed and strip-searched.
After being detained for two hours, the 55-year-old was released the same day with no charges.
The consultant maintains that during the entire episode she was neither abusive nor rude to anyone in the store but has since been banned from Waitrose and John Lewis – a ban which even includes ordering online.
She is now suing police for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment, assault and disability discrimination.
Sussex Police said a civil claim has been made which the force ‘strongly disputed’, with a spokesman adding ‘liability has been denied.’