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The unexpected reason President Obama’s cousin is suing the Metropolitan Police

Metropolitan Police's New Scotland Yard HeadquartersMetropolitan Police's New Scotland Yard Headquarters
A "New Scotland Yard" logo sits on a revolving sign outside the headquarters of London's Metropolitan Police Service, in London, U.K.Photograph by Jason Alden — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Mary Auma is suing Scotland Yard, otherwise known as the London Metropolitan Police, for £400,000 in damages, Telegraph reports.

Auma is related to Obama through her aunt, Kezia Obama, the president’s step-mother. She says that she was forced to retire from her civilian police job due to a “culture of bullying” in which she was the target. She claims that two colleagues in particular would purposefully break wind at her desk, which her lawyer, Lorraine Mensah, says was “an attempt to belittle her and humiliate her.”

Her lawyer told the court that this behavior began in 2007 when she was refused time off to visit the graves of her brothers in Kenya. She believes that others perceived her as a “trouble maker” for complaining about the refusal, motivating them against her.

She was eventually transferred to a different police station, but her reputation preceded her and she was once again the target of harassment, which her lawyer describes as “21st century bullying.” Mensah addressed the court saying, “There was clear evidence before the defendants that she was suffering stress, causing her ill health, and she attributed that to the bullying and harassment that she complained of.”

Auma had to take time off work in the latter half of 2008 because she was suffering from chest pains, which she attributes to anxiety produced by her workplace. She eventually suffered a mental breakdown and was admitted to a hospital. She retired because of her health issues and has not returned to work since.

The hearing is still going on as the Metropolitan Police have denied liability.