Officers told her she had been spotted on CCTV earlier that afternoon walking through the town centre with a gun. After she was bailed, Rochae told the Advertiser the object in the recording was a black afro comb which she had tucked into her waistband. Simone Davis, her mum, agreed she could speak publicly about the incident in the hope of clearing her name.
“There’s been a terrible mistake,” she said. “There is no way my daughter would have a gun – she isn’t that type of girl.” Rochae took the bus into Croydon last Friday to meet friends at McDonald’s in North End.
When she arrived, she was confronted by a girl from another school who wanted to have a fight with her. Miss Davis, 33, who lives in Croydon, said: “This girl had been bothering Rochae for months, wanting a fight with her over something really stupid. “My daughter didn’t want to back down, so she agreed in order to save face.”
The two girls and their friends left McDonald’s to find somewhere to have the fight without being caught on CCTV. Miss Wilson said: “Rochae had heard the girl had a knife so she took her friend’s comb – because it’s got silver spikes – as protection and put it into her waistband. That’s what has been seen on camera.”
Rochae said the fight lasted two minutes and neither she nor the other girl had used their weapons. “I went back to McDonald’s for a while and then left to go home,” she said. “As I was walking back with a friend, six police officers appeared. They were from Trident [the Met’s gun crime unit] and had guns. They pushed us against a wall and searched us.
“It was only after they had finished that they said they had seen me on CCTV with a firearm. “I was so confused. I said I didn’t have a gun, but they wouldn’t listen.” Rochae was arrested in Poplar Walk at around 5.15pm and was taken to Windmill Road custody centre, where she was searched again and interviewed by the police.
“I tried to tell them what happened, but they kept saying they saw me on CCTV,” said Rochae. “I was really scared. I didn’t know what was happening. They took my clothes and my stuff – it was really uncomfortable.” The schoolgirl was detained for nine hours before being bailed until April.
Miss Davis added: “I’m very angry. Rochae is just a child – she’s traumatised. I’m not saying she is an angel, but she has never been in trouble with the police. “My sister was in the interview with her and she was able to see the CCTV footage and you can see it’s an afro comb. “I haven’t slept. I’m so worried for her. I know it wasn’t a gun.”
Police said they were called to reports of a “disturbance” in Centrale shopping centre at 4.30pm. A Met Police spokesman added: “As officers were responding, police were contacted by the local authority CCTV control room, which was also monitoring the incident, with information that a female had been seen with what was believed to be a firearm in the area.
“Police arrived and a number of people were dispersed. A short while later, officers stopped a 15-year-old girl in Poplar Walk and she was subsequently arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm. “She has since been bailed to return to a south London police station in mid-April pending further inquiries. “No firearm has been recovered at this stage.” Article courtesy www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk