Bernard’s attorney called the execution “a stain on America’s criminal justice system.”
“Brandon made one terrible mistake at age 18,” said the lawyer, Robert C. Owen. “But he did not kill anyone, and he never stopped feeling shame and profound remorse for his actions in the crime that took the lives of Todd and Stacie Bagley. And he spent the rest of his life sincerely trying to show, as he put it, that he ‘was not that person.'”
Alexandra Ankrah, the head of policy at the Windrush compensation scheme, has resigned, reports Amelia Gentleman at the Guardian.
Ankrah complains that the scheme, run by a department of the Home Office, is institutionally racist and says the team members she worked with “showed a complete lack of humanity”.
This is a restatement of what is already known, thanks to the outstanding work of Gentleman, but the fact that nothing has changed since the government claimed it was going to put right this travesty of justice is still shocking.
The Windrush scandal saw people from the African Caribbean, who were invited to the UK in the 50s and 60s, declared to be ‘non-British’ despite being colonial subjects of the Crown, and barred from public services, denied access to health services, kicked out of their homes , losing their jobs and – most shamefully – deported from the country or refused entry after visiting the Caribbean to see relatives or go on holiday.
Politicians in parliament have got no where trying to get answers as to why so few have been compensated.
Same discriminatory procedures that created Windrush ‘hostile environment’ scandal being used to limit compensation claims
It turns out that the same procedures that demanded unreasonable documentary evidence from people when they tried to access services, such as payslips from the 1970s, are being used now to effectively bar victims from being compensated.
Of the tiny number (196) who have managed to wring money out of this government, the sums have been an insult, averaging just £8,163 per applicant.
That contrasts with the lavish sums the government is paying out to its well-connected friends to supply the NHS with personal protective equipment (PPE).
One middleman received £21 million for basically doing next to nothing.
Meanwhile, the government resisted funding free school meals for hungry children in this country, is going ahead with a cut to welfare benefits next year and thinks £8k is all that black people victimised by government policy is perfectly adequate.
Windrush scandal – radical action needed to win justice for victims
We are going to have to take radical action to correct these ongoing wrongs – that means action on the streets, our communities and through our unions and campaign groups to fight for justice now.
There are three different bodies that have been set up in response to the scandal: the compensation scheme itself; the Windrush taskforce, whose job it has been to contact those affected and inform them of how to get compensation and thirdly, the independent Windrush Lessons Learned review by Wendy Williams.
The institutional racism of those running the ‘Lessons Learned’ body that 20 team members have been hauled before the civil service “equality, diversity and inclusion”.
The Windrush scandal crimes were a direct result of a government policy known as the “hostile environment”, which sought to scapegoat migrants for the problems of inequality and poverty that afflict the UK.
It all went down under Theresa May’s Tory government as she tried to prove that she and her government were more racist Nigel Farage, who they feared was outflanking them from the right.
They claimed it was all a big mistake and not intentional, but it was part of a deliberate and consciously crafted policy war against all migrants to the UK.
Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee has got hold of damning evidence of the extent of the oppressive nature of the policing of black (and white) youth in the big cities of the UK, especially London.
Lots of anecdotal evidence has been cited about the increase in stops of young people and now we have the proof.
For black youth the level of harassment has gone way off the scale, with a quarter of all the young black people having been stopped during the lockdown.
Young black men were stopped and searched by police more than 20,000 times in London during the coronavirus lockdown – the equivalent more than a quarter of all black 15- to 24-year-olds in the capital.
More than 80% of the 21,950 searches between March and May resulted in no further action, according to analysis by the office of the home affairs select committee chair, Yvette Cooper.
The figures equate to 30% of all young black males in London, though some individuals may have been searched more than once.
The Met increased its use of stop and search during the lockdown, compared with a year ago. The force carried out 43,000 stops in May, compared to 21,000 a year earlier, and 30,608 in April, up from 20,981.
Katrina Ffrench, chief executive of Stopwatch, a charity that campaigns against the disproportionate use of stop and search, said: “The number is shocking and saddening. How do those young people feel when this is their city, they’re going about their daily business, could be caring for parents, all sorts of reasons as to why they’re out?” more
Parliament Home Affairs Select Committee hears evidence on stop and search. Hearing evidence this week.
STREET names, statues, and building names across Wales are to be reviewed as part of plans to “challenge” controversial aspects of the nation’s history, including connections with the slave trade.
First minister Mark Drakeford has ordered an urgent “audit” of public landmarks, which will all be reviewed by a group with expert knowledge of the slave trade, the British Empire, and the history of black communities in Wales, a Welsh Government spokesperson said.
“This is not about rewriting the past – it is about reflecting it with the justice it deserves,” Mr Drakeford said in a statement.
The audit has been commissioned following the recent Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests, which have brought together activists and members of the public calling for an end to racial injustice and inequality. more
Black community leaders on the ground in London say an uprising is inevitable if police and their political masters continue with their oppressive policing of young black people at block party gatherings
A series of incidents across London are seeing tensions between the community and the police boils over.
One law for Black youth, another for middle-class white people
This comes against the background of mounting concern about the racist nature of the contrast between how black youth are dealt with in the Covid pandemic as opposed to white sunbathers on beaches, or mostly white people gathering in large numbers in cramped conditions in and around pubs, such as in Soho Square in London’s West End yesterday.
In those locations there is not a policeman to be seen but as soon as black youth organise their own cheaper forms of entertainment there’s a visit from the Metropolitan police’s Tactical Support Group (riot police).
In addition to the panoply of stop and search laws the police already use to harass black people – such as under PACE, Section 60 and anti-terrorism legislation, there is a new weapon in their locker: the Covid Act.
This was made clear not long into the pandemic when black people were soon shown to be disproportionately more likely to be stopped and fined by the police.
“There’s an explosion coming if the police carry on like this with the TSG”
Ken Hinds, who runs a police monitoring group based in Tottenham, north London told BLMM: “Why don’t they come and talk to the community and the elders so we can supervise our own events instead of sending in riot police?”
“There’s an explosion coming if the police carry on like this with the TSG [Tactical Support Group].”
The rising tension has seen young people push back against police intimidation and wanton violence.
Block party clampdown: a “general anti-police conflagration” coming?
BLM activist Gary McFarlane echoed those sentiments: “After weeks of being told by the Tory politicians and others who should know better, that there was nothing to be fighting about here in the UK concerning racism – we see on display in this racist policing of block parties the full extent of the institutional racism of the police, and the government and politicians who encourage them.
“This comes after numerous cases of police racist violence and profiling, such as around the death of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry.
“Then there’s the appalling treatment of Andrew Boateng and his son and the most recent outrage that has just come to light of Ryan Colaço, who has been repeatedly stopped by racist police -– one time after coming back from a Channel 4 interview about police harassment. Enough is enough.”
McFarlane continued: “The Met should know that more of this brutal discriminatory policing will see localised fight backs turn into a general anti-police conflagration across London. Is that what they really want?”
BLM fuels Black youth fightback
After months of being confined in flats with no gardens and with little money, the Black Lives Matter movement has given black (and white) working-class youth greater confidence to challenge racist policing practices.
Parties have been held in Streatham, Brixton, Tottenham, Kensal Town to name just a few areas of London, where videos of riot police have gone viral.
However, if you are a middle class white person partying and spending £5 on a pint of beer in Soho in crowded conditions that break all Covid social-distancing rules, that’s just fine. Not a cop in sight.
Raise your voice against the criminalisation of Black youth
Complain direct to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and Independent for Police Conduct (IOPC):
MPS Directorate of Professional Standards Complaints Support Team 22nd Floor, Empress State Building Lillie Road London SW6 1TR
IOPC Independent Office for Police Conduct PO Box 473 Sale M33 0BW
This story will be updated throughout the day
Solidarity against police brutality and racism
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