All posts by Janet Powe

Priti Patel plans to introduce racist SVRO stop and search laws

Home secretary Priti Patel has announced the government’s intention to push ahead with yet more racist stop and search powers for the police, despite no evidence that they help to stop violent crime.

The government plans to introduce legislation to enable the introduction of Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVRO), which would allow the police to stop and search any individual who has been convicted of a prior criminal offence.

Patel announced the new measures in comments to the Mail on Sunday.

But there is no evidence that stop and search fights crime. In 2018/19 nothing was found in 72% of searches. Black people are already 10 times more likely to be stopped than who’re people and the serious violence reduction orders will increase this racial disproportionality. 

Add to this the fact that the draconian Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act means the police already have wide discretion to stop and search without the need to show “reasonable grounds”, the real purpose of Patel’s new power grab is to be seen to be acting tough and, sadly, to stir up more racism.

Only 5% of stops under Section 60 lead to an arrest.

SVROs will give the police power to search anyone with a previous conviction without having to provide grounds for doing so. How are such persons going to be identified? By the colour of their their skin? 

The rollout of SVROs comes on the back of the increase in stop and search targeting Black kids, under the guise of the Covid legislation. Stops in May 2020 in London shows that 1 in 8 of all Black males aged 15 to 25 were stopped in London.

Stops by the London Metropolitan police in May 2020 were double the figure for 2019, according to the Home Affairs select committee.

Patel told The Mail on Sunday: “A minority will say these measures are disproportionate and will affect minority communities or claim that this is racism. That is simply not true.

“People will say these measures are controversial. But to me, when people are dying, that doesn’t matter. The government’s number one job is to keep our people safe.”

The Tories don’t care how many more lives their policies ruin and care even less about the addressing the real causes of violent crime.

Much of inner city violent crime on the streets is driven by turf wars over drugs, so why not legalise all drugs.

Many stops in London and elsewhere are initiated because a police officer says they could small cannabis, so why not legalise cannabis as they have in Canada and more than a dozen US states?

Meanwhile, Black men continue to die after contact with a police officer, such Mohamud Hassan who dies in Cardiff last week after allegedly been beaten by police office at the Butetown police station.

 

Police fine BLM activists fighting for justice for Mohamud Hassan

Black Lives Matter (BLM) activist Bianca Ali has been fined £1,000 for being part of protests against the death of Mohamud Hassan, who died after detention by South Wales Police. Daily protests have taken place since the alleged beating of Mohamud by police last Friday (8 January).

He was released on Saturday morning (a week ago) and died later at home. He was covered in wounds and bruises family and friends say after he was beaten by police. His death has been met by spontaneous protests to demand justice.

The police who claim no excessive force was used against Mohamud in the police station, have refused to release any video footage from inside the station. The CCTV and body cam footage his reported to have been released to the IOPC investigators.

Bianca is not taking the state repression lying down: “They will never keep me quiet, I will always speak out against injustice.” 

A gofundme page has been set up for Bianca to pay the fine. The response has been magnificent – £1,590 has been raised already.

At the time of writing £48,862 for the Justice4Mohamud campaign and all monies for Bianca’s fine above the £1,000 required will be sent to the campaign to get justice for Mohamud.

Please join BLMM in donating to the campaign – donate here

Protest outside Butetown police station, Cardiff

The protests outside the Butetown police station were not organised by BLM Cardiff, despite what the police claim.

BLM Cardiff said: “The police took two riot vans to Bianca’s house and were banging repeatedly on her door. Please tell us why, other than disgusting intimidation tactics, that was needed?”

“As we said before, we did not organise these protests – if anyone organised these protests, it’s the South Wales Police [because of their brutal racist violence]. “What did they expect people to do?”.

“The movement cannot be stopped.” 

The Justice4Mohamud campaign is going from strength to strength. A solidarity protest was held in London which was also met with police repression and arrests.

I supposedly independent investigation is being conducted by the Independent Office Of Police Conduct, with south wales police describing Mahmoud’s death as “a tragedy”.

But South Wales police have a long history of racist policing which stretches back to the infamous Cardiff Three – in which three black men were framed for the murder of Lynette White, one of the most blatant miscarriages of justice ever seen in Wales – and beyond.

Protesters demand justice for Mohamud Hassans family
Protesting for Mohamud outside Butetown police station, Cardiff

Sign the petition to demand justice for Mohamud:

Justice for Mohamud Mohammed Hussan

Mohamud Hassan was allegedly beaten and killed by South Wales police

Mohamud Mohammed Hassan, 24, was arrested by South Wales police last Friday and released without charge on Saturday morning. According to family and friends he left the police station covered in bruises and wounds. He died at home on Saturday night.

Mohamud’s aunt, Zainab Hassan, saw her nephew shortly after his release and confirms he showed signs of having been beaten by the police

“He had lots of wounds on his body and lots of bruises,” she said.

“He didn’t have these wounds when he was arrested and when he came out of Cardiff Bay police station, he had them.

“Nothing we do is going to bring him back, but we will not rest for a second until we have justice.”

Yesterday (Tuesday 12 January) hundreds of people protested angrily at the police station in Butetown, Cardiff, vowing not to rest until justice has been done for Mohamud.

Mohamud’s track suit covered in blood

Reports from neighbours say that Mohamud’s track suit was covered in blood.

The alleged beating that was inflicted on Mohamud is troubling in the extreme.

Solicitor Hilary Brown, director of Virgo Consultancy, said, “We want somebody to try to explain to us why a young, healthy man was arrested by South Wales Police with no apparent injuries to his body and as a result of being released from Cardiff Bay police station he was badly marked with bruising and cuts, and within hours was dead.”

First Minister Mark Drakeford said the reports of Mr Hassan’s death were “deeply concerning”.

For their part, South Wales police say there was no evidence of “excessive force”.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said: “Every effort should be made to seek the truth of what happened.”

“Why did this young man die?,” he added.

The community urgently need to know the answer to that question, and many more.

Where are the videos from inside the police station?

Why was he arrested in the first place, given that he was released without charge?

How did this otherwise healthy young man come by the grievous injuries that witnesses report?

Family, friends and protesters are adamant that South Wales police have blood on their hands. No justice, no peace!

Wales has seen the development of a vibrant Black Lives Matter movement and activists and protesters from across Wales have vowed to fight for justice for Mahmoud.

Parler data dump ongoing with names of terrorist organisers set to emerge

Its a few years late but social media has booted fascist-enabler-in-chief Donald Trump and now his supporters on Parler are about to be uncovered.

That has thrown up also sorts of real issues about the power of social media over our lives and politics, but the arguments of the right shutting down Trump is an affront to free speech is specious, to say the least.

But there can be no freedom to spread hate and violence, which is what Trump has been doing and to be honest it is what his followers continue to do on Twitter and Facebook.

Trump and assorted racists and fascists thought they would be able to spew their filth on Parler, but after Amazon’s withdrawal of Amazon Web Services hosting and its removal from the Apple and Google app stores, that outlet has been blocked too.

Parler data dump set to expose fascists

Parler is underwritten by Trump billionaire backer’s the Mercer family and has billed itself as the home of the far right.

Today it emerged that the entire content of Parler has been accessed and is currently being downloaded.

So in addition to all their live-streaming and selfies of their criminal conduct on Capitol Hill, we will soon have access to much of the planning and the individuals and organisations responsible.

Obviously relying on the police to bringing any of the far right criminals to justice is a waste of time given the police were accomplices and facilitators, apart from one or two honourable exceptions.

As the Parler planning is uncovered we will have further reports.

If you are wondering about the extent of the collusion and facilitating between cops and fascists, then the video below should help clear things up. Even as a woman laid dying, the police we talking to the far right rioters about calming down so that theey could let them continue on their journey around the Capitol building in search of lawmakers to kidnap, put on trial and execute, as was planned by some of the terrorist elements.

Even after a woman lies dying, police tell far right rioters to calm or you can’t some in! If they were Black their heads would have been blown off by now: “You guys can’t come in here if you are so unruly. You guys got to calm down”

The Daily Kos has more on how the Parler data was accessed here and more from Vice here.

Trump coup attempt in motion as fascists storm Congress, police watch on

Trump supporters have stormed the US Capitol with reports of shots being heard inside the building.

Congress has gone into lockdown and the police have allowed the assorted fascists to breach all the capitol buildings, according to reports.

The floor of Congress is being evacuated and gas masks distributed to the country’s elected officials

The kid glove treatement of the all-white Trump rabble is in stary contrast to the treatment meted out to BLM or left-wing demonstartors.

It is not lost on those viewing the scenes how different the response of law enforcement would have been if this was a mostly Black crowd.

Earlier ni the day the protesters heard from Trump who egged on the crowd to do their worst inhis hour long diatribe of lies about how the election was supposedly stolen.

The Trump supporters are even more enraged by the events in Georgia where the Democrats are set to win both Senate seats, giving them control of all three branches of the US government.

Despite the best efforts of Republican white supremacists to suppress the Black vote in the state, it was the turnout of African-Americans that has swung the election in Georgia in the Democrats’ favour.

All the political leaders of the US are in the capitol and the police appear to have lost control of the situation as “protesters”, some alleged to have concealed weapons, roam the buildings.

This is a Trump coup attempt

This is political intimidation that has all the hallmarks of fascism in action.

A republican congressman has described the storming of the capitol as a coup attempt. He is right.

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A 6pm curfew has been declared by the mayor of Washington DC but many will be asking why the capitol was not properly protected in the first place following days of warnings about violence from Trump loyalists.

It is time for Trump to be arrested for sedition against the republic.

Kenosha cop who shot Jacob Blake in the back faces no charges

Rusten Sheskey, the police officer in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, who shot Jacob Blake sparking off days of protests which led to white supremacist vigilante Kyle Rittenhouse shooting dead two BLM protesters, will not be charged with any crime.

The news was announced by Kenosha County district attorney Michael Graveley. The announcement was greeted with dismay by Blake family members.

“This decision failed not only Jacob and his family but the community that protested and demanded justice,” said the family’s lawyer, Ben Crump.

The white policeman who shot Blake several times in the back after attending a domestic incident with other officers, has left Blake semi-paralysed and he will never walk again.

Expected protests on Tuesday, many businesses had been boarded up and National Guardsmen were stationed at the court house.

Sheskey has been on administartive leave since the shooting, on full pay. So while he has been on holiday, another Black family has been grieving as a result of racist police violence in the US.

Rittenhouse was arraignment today also, and pleaded not guilty to the six charges against him, which included first degree intentional homicide.

In the protests that turned into an anti-police uprising, the armed Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, was seen colluding with police and even after he killed two protesters was able to depart the scene with no intervention from the police.

30% of children held on remand in the UK are Black

Nationally 30% of all children held on remand in the UK are Black. That’s the shocking finding of Transform Justice and the Howard League for Penal Reform.

The data was revealed following a Freedom of Information request.

Director of Transform Justice, Penelope Gibbs said: “This huge racial disparity in the treatment of London’s children cannot be explained away. Remand separates children from their families and disrupts their education, and yet most children who are remanded do not go on to receive a prison sentence. 

The Howard League also reveals in a research briefing that in the past nine years the number of children being arrested has fallen but the figure for Black kids have stayed stubbornly high. Overall there were 71,885 in 2019.

Black kids are four times more likely to be arrested than their white counterparts.

Using the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) designator, 51% of children incarcerated were from those backgrounds, as at September 2020.

Children who are victims of county line gangs or trafficking are being treated as criminals by police when they are in fact the victims.

The government as usual has some soothing words to balm the wounds:

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “We are working across government to tackle the deep-rooted causes of BAME children’s over-representation in the criminal justice system. This includes reviewing the disproportionate use of remand, along with improving legal advice and developing schemes for early intervention.”

So yet more reviews, but nothing will happen to free the children ensnared in the British injustice system until radical action is taken to force change.

The findings of the Lammy Review into racial inequality in the justice system have still not been acted upon, despite the government indicating that it would follow through on the review’s recommendations.

Excerpt from the Howard League research briefing:

The large reduction in the numbers of child arrests in the last decade is a success story but the data shows continued inequalities for Black children and those from minority ethnic backgrounds who have not benefitted from efforts to divert children to the same extent as white children. Government figures reveal that Black children are over four times as likely as white children to be arrested. The proportion of
white children arrested has fallen by 13 per cent over the last ten years, whilst the proportion of Black children arrested has doubled to 16 per
cent (Youth Justice Board, 2020).

The disproportionate impact of the criminal justice system on Black children and children from ethnic minority backgrounds grows
exponentially as children progress through the system, resulting in huge disparities in the numbers held on remand and serving sentences in child prisons. In September 2020, 51 per cent (273) of the 536 children
held in youth custody were from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (HM Prison and Probation Service, 2020). In Feltham and
Cookham Wood prisons, around two-thirds of children being held on remand are Black or from minority ethnic backgrounds (Howard
League for Penal Reform, 2020a).

Minneapolis police killing of Dolal Idd and raid shows their brutal racism

The shooting dead by police of Dolal Idd last Wednesday in Minneapolis was the first since the murder of George Floyd by the same police force.

Police have released a body cam video they say shows that Mr Idd fired first, but he shows no such thing.

All that is seen in the video is the man’s car window blowing out, but that shot could equally have come from the other side of the car as it could from within the vehicle. The police claim a firearm was found in the car.

No further body cams have been released by the police to help to clarify the situation.

Following the killing, police officers descended on the family home of Mr Idd in a raid that has left the Somali-American family shell shocked.

The police forced their way into the home screaming orders, putting teenagers into handcuffs as well as Dolal’s father Bayle Gelle when he came rushing down the stairs after hearing his wife screaming.

The only ones not put into cuffs were the young children. The police did not say what they were searching for and it was only as they were leaving the home that they saw fit to inform the family that Dolal had been killed by police.

The killing by police of Dolal Idd
Raid by militarised police on the family home

Tory MP Richard Drax refuses to pay reparations for his slave wealth

The Tory MP for South Dorset, Richard Drax, omitted to include in the UK parliamentary register of members interests the fact that he owned a plantation on the Caribbean island of Barbados.

That’s right – the landowning Tory’s family wealth is based on slavery. Indeed, according to the Observer newspaper he is the richest landowner in the House of Commons.

His family owns the 250 hectare Drax Hall plantation, which has been in the family as a slave-worked plantation since 1640, right up until 1836 – in other words since the beginning of Britain’s colonial slave-trading shame, which was one of the greatest crimes against humanity ever.

Drax Hall Barbados

The  Caribbean Community (Caricom) Reparations Commission has demanded that Drax acknowledge his ill-gotten gains and pays reparations, but he has refused to do so.

Richard Drax inherited the plantation after the death of his father in 2017.

Drax omitted to add to the register thousands of acres of land that he owns in the UK. He has only now chosen to rectify those omissions and that of the Barbados plantation following an investigation by the Observer newspaper.

Vice chancellor of the University of the West Indies Sir Hilary Beckles estimates that 30,000 people were worked to death on the Barbados plantation over a 200 years period, with around 300 people ensalve on the estate at any one time. It was the largest sugar plantation on the island.

The Drax planter-merchant family went on to establish their sugar plantation model in Jamaica, which the British took from the Spanish and established as a colony in 1655. It was a model that was replicated across the Caribbean and north America.

Drax Hall Jamaica
If anyone is wondering where the Drax family got the money from to build Charborough Park in Dorset, it came from working Africans to death over two centuries in the Caribbean. The average life expectancy of a slave in the British Caribbean was around seven years.

Drax, not surprisingly is no friend of the Black lives Matter movement.

In June he jumped on the exaggerated media reports of the BLM protests at the time, saying: “The desecration of the Cenotaph by rioters two weeks ago, on the actual D-Day anniversary, was beyond ironic.”

Drax is also in favour of racist immigration controls. In 2013, he voted to increase restrictions: “I believe, as do many of my constituents, that this country is full.”

The Barbados government should requisition the Drax property immediately with no compensation. They should also send a bill to the UK government demanding payment of reparations, given the “compensation” paid to slave owners upon emancipation – the cost of which UK taxpayers incredibly only finished paying off in 2015.

The Slave Compensation Act of 1837 distributed around £20 million to slavers. The compensation in today’s money is estimated at £50 billion, not including reinvestment of capital and the attendant compounding effect. The enslaved people got nothing.

Breonna Taylor statue smashed but $25k raised for bronze replacement

In a little less than two weeks after the installation of the memorial statue to Breonna Tayor, racists vandals have attacked and smashed it.

The memorial was sculpted by white artist Leo Carson, taking him several months to complete the work.

Breonna – an emergency room medical technician – was killed by police in Louisville Kentucky upon exercising a so-called “no knock” warrant in March 2020.

The bust took pride of place near Oakland town hall, California.

Protests to demand justice for Breonna took place all over the world, including in the UK.

Say Her Name: Breonna Taylor

This latest act of racist vandalism sadly follows similar incidents across the US, notably in Washington DC when Trump supporters and fascist from the Proud Boys racists street gang sought out and destroyed memorials to other African American individuals killed by police officers.

Leo Carston said of the attack: “I built it to support the Black Lives Matter movement, but that also makes it a target for racist aggression.”

Since the attack took place, $25,000 has been raised to fund a bronze replacement The original was made from less sturdy clay with ceramic finish.

Donate today: Breonna Taylor statue gofundme page

Three Breonna cops now fired but still walking free

In other news, of the three officers involved in the killing of Breonna, one has been fired (detective Brett Hankison) and another two are slated for termination – Detective Myles Cosgrove (one of the shooters) and Detective Joshua Jaynes (who got the search warrant from the judge).

None of the police have been charged with the actual killing of Breonna. Hankison was found guilty of wanton endangerment because one of his bullets entered a neighbouring apartment.