BLM protester who threw fence at police at Downing Street spared jail

Teaching assistant, 20, who threw pieces of a metal fence at fleeing police officers during Black Lives Matter protests at Downing Street is spared jail

  • Shayden Spencer, 20, admitted violent disorder after being caught on CCTV
  • He said that he had wanted to ‘raise a voice for racial rights in a peaceful manner’
  • The special needs teaching assistant must complete 80 hours of unpaid work

A special needs teaching assistant who hurled parts of a metal fence at police during a Black Lives Matter protest at Downing Street was spared jail today.

Shayden Spencer was caught on CCTV throwing parts of the fence when an ‘angry mob’ attacked officers on June 3 last year. 

The 20-year-old said he got ‘carried away without thinking’ and wanted to ‘raise a voice for racial rights in a peaceful manner’ at his first protest.

The judge spared the young teacher prison, noting he had, ‘the potential for a bright future’ but had been ‘swept away with events’.

Shayden Spencer, 20, said he got ‘carried away without thinking’ and wanted to ‘raise a voice for racial rights in a peaceful manner’ at his first protest

Protesters threw barriers towards the gates of Downing Street during the BLM demonstration in London, on June 3

Southwark Crown Court was played a CCTV clip that showed Spencer throwing two pieces of the fence that had been blocking the entrance to Downing Street. 

Dressed smartly in a charcoal suit, Spencer, from south-west London, was late to court sentence hearing because he slept through his alarm. 

The 20-year-old, who recently started work as a teaching assistant working with children with special educational needs, admitted violent disorder. 

Prosecutor Tyrone Silcott told the court: ‘The defendant is seen clearly to walk towards the waist-height barrier and throw a piece of barrier that had been broken up. He then returns 55 seconds later and does exactly the same thing.’

He added: ‘[Spencer] expressed his regret what he described as being in the heat of the moment. He said his actions did not ‘reflect the person I am.’

‘He stated he went to the Black Lives Matters protest as part to raise a voice for racial rights in a peaceful manner. He said he never thought the protest would become violent.

‘It was the first protest he had ever attended. He admitted that he got carried away without thinking.

‘He said he could not give a reasonable excuse why he took part in the disorder but expressed serious regrets for his actions.

‘He was soon to start a job as a teacher and again expressed regrets as he understood the consequence of his actions as that could affect that future.’

Edward McKiernan, defending, told the court: ‘He did set his clock for seven o’clock this morning to come to court, he slept through that, and woke up in a concern and whisked here.

‘The reason he wasn’t sleeping is concern over these proceedings, there is no excuse. He apologises to the court. He appreciates this is the worst possible time for him to be late.’

Mr Kiernan said Spencer had been a victim of bullying throughout his life and ‘difficult’ personal circumstances.

BLM protesters marched through London on June 3 – but the rally turned violent and some were captured on CCTV throwing the barriers at police

‘He has been in need of support and assistance. Fortunately, there is an adoptive mother who gave him that. He has let everyone down by his actions but he has tried to remedy the situation. 

‘He has a degree of empathy. He is the sort of person who could be an asset to the community. It is not a moment of madness, he was stupid with a lot of other stupid people.’ 

Judge Gregory Perrins told him: ‘It’s quite clear this was an extremely serious offence of public disorder. 

‘Even though it began as a legitimate demonstration it ended up in violence and aggression that you willingly participated in.

‘You became swept away with events as they unfolded. You’ve shown true regret for your actions and taken full responsibility at a very early stage. It’s also been suggested a lack of maturity contributed to your actions.

‘You live at home and have the support of your family since leaving school. I accept your youth and immaturity can explain what you did and I also accept your remorse and regret.

‘The point is well made that you regretted what you did long before how serious this matter would be taken by the courts.

‘You made full admissions from the outset given your police your details when you did not have to and entering a guilty plea in the very first instance.

‘I accept the core submission that this is deeply out of character. The chance of you offending again is low.

‘You are plainly someone who has the potential for a bright future. I suspect you know how close you came to ruining that in just less than 60 seconds of behaviour.’

Spencer was given an eight-month sentence, suspended for a year, and ordered to pay £300 in costs. The judge also ordered him to do 80 hours unpaid work and a 15-day rehabilitation requirement.

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