All posts by Janet Powe

Edson witnesses speak out: ‘I was there and I saw it. The police killed him’

Thanks to Socialist Worker

By Sadie Robinson

The woman who drove the car that Edson Da Costa was stopped in by cops shortly before his death has spoken to Socialist Worker about his treatment.

Edson died in hospital last week six days after the police stopped the car in Beckton, east London, on 15 June. Jussara was among a group of protesters, including some of Edson’s cousins and friends, who gathered at Forest Gate police station in east London yesterday, Tuesday.

She said, “It wasn’t like Edson was by himself and we don’t know what happened. I was there and I saw it. The police killed him.”

During a 200-strong protest over the killing last Sunday, Newham borough police commander Ian Larnder told protesters he would meet them on Tuesday. Initially cops at Forest Gate police station told protesters they had no appointment.

But the determination of Edson’s relatives and friends forced them to meet with two of Edson’s cousins. They told Socialist Worker that, in the meeting, Larnder confirmed that none of the officers involved in the stop had been suspended.

They said he also confirmed that police had used CS gas on Edson.

Jussara told Socialist Worker, “He was already down on the ground when they sprayed him.”

Some of Edson’s friends and family visited the estate where the car stop took place to lay flowers. They described how neighbours came out to share their eyewitness accounts of the stop—and footage of the incident.

“On the tape you can hear neighbours shouting, ‘You murdered him’,” Edson’s cousin Shellin told Socialist Worker. “You can see someone lying on the floor. And the police officers were not uniformed.”

Another cousin, Maria (not her real name) added, “Neighbours told us police officers were on top of him. And that they were telling everyone to go inside. They said police drove their car at people to try and get them to go away.”

They described the injuries Edson suffered. “There were scratches all over his body,” Shellin said. “There was tape on his eyes to try and keep them closed, but they were dry. His whole body was swollen.”

Maria said, “I wish people could have gone to the hospital and seen him. The first thing you noticed was his neck. It was triple the normal size. He had to have something to hold his head straight because his neck wasn’t strong enough.

“They say the police didn’t injure him. So how did that happen? We want justice.”

 

 

The cops have tried to downplay any injuries that Edson received. Instead they have claimed that Edson died after ingesting drugs.

The cops’ pet watchdog the IPCC released a new statement on the case the same day as Tuesday’s protest. It said that a pathologist had “removed a number of packages from Mr Da Costa’s throat”.

But as his relatives and friends pointed out, police are trained to deal with such situations. And possession of drugs doesn’t give cops a licence to kill people.

Jussara said, “When they think someone has something in their mouth, they are supposed to allow them to swallow it and bring them to the police station.

“Who are you to use force? If the police are not doing what they’re meant to do, why should we do what we get told? Why should we follow the law if they don’t?”

Protester Ivan added, “Edson was unarmed. Even if they thought he had a knife, they have training to deal with that.”

Why should people suffer capital punishment just because the police say they think a crime has been committed?

Edson came to Britain from Portugal in 1996 and had a young son here. He was just 25 when he died. Many of those angry over his death are familiar with the deaths or mistreatment of black men at the hands of the cops.

Ivan said, “Police racism is nothing new to me. They killed my cousin in Portugal in the same way. It’s got to end now.”

Fabio, a close friend of Edson, pointed to the double standards when it comes to the cops. “If we kill someone we go to prison,” he said. “What happened to Edson could happen to any one of us.”

People are determined to fight for justice and to stop the police covering up the truth about how Edson died.

Jussara said campaigners want to make sure that “next time, when someone gets arrested, this isn’t going to happen again”.

“We’re going to get to the bottom of this,” she said. “It keeps happening and it has to stop.”

Maria said, “This is us against the government.”

You don’t get any truth from the mainstream media. See more on Edson’s death at the hands of the police at Socialist Worker

Daily Mail protects police killers by whipping up hate against justice for Edson protesters

We received this email from the Daily ‘hate’ Mail yesterday:

Is the Black Lives Matter UK movement able to comment on the protest last night in Forest Gate?
On Twitter you called for people to get down there and many protesters there seemed to have BLM banners etc. Did you organise it? If not, who did?
What do you want to say about the violence and arson, and the six injured police and demonstrators that were arrested?
What do you want to say to the suggestion that that there is no evidence that Mr Da Costa was killed by the police – rather by drugs he ingested?
The IPCC has said reports he suffered a broken neck etc are ‘misinformation’.
What do you say to the suggestion that Black Lives Matter UK has caused unrest based on untruths at a time when the UK’s emergency services are under immense strain?

Please do respond by 7pm today or perhaps provide a telephone number so I can speak to a representative directly.

Thanks

Ben Wilkinson
Reporter
Daily Mail
Mobile: 07800 926 232
Tel: 0203 615 1084

 

The first thing to say is we are not BLM UK. We are independent of that organisation as we believe mass action on the streets and in our workplaces is the way forward, not elite direct action by small numbers of committed people doing actions on behalf of others. We believe capitalism is the enemy, not white people. Having said that, we defend the individuals in BLM UK who are being attacked in the mainstream media for the ‘crime’ of having the audacity to call for Justice for Edson.

Members of our group (BLMM) did indeed take part in the peaceful protest for Edson, although the Black Lives Matter placards the Daily Mail refers to were from the Stand Up To Racism organisation, which is clear to anyone who takes the time to read the heading on them.

The slogan ‘black lives matter’ is common parlance in the anti-racist movement, but this seems to have passed the Daily Mail by. They want to twist everything to fit into their warped Tory-racist view of the world. The supposed journalists at the Daily Mail obviously can’t read.

Our response to the Daily Mail’s attempt to undermine Edson’s fight for justice and to protect the racist killers in the police appears below.

Yesterday’s explosion of anger in Forest Gate and Stratford was a direct consequence of the death of Edson da Costa, after a police stop. The protest was spontaneously organised by friends of Edson and the Portuguese community in Newham. We hold it as our responsibility, and that of everyone opposed to racism, to support their demands for justice.

The focus of any responsible journalist should be on another death added to a very long list of black and ethnic minority deaths in police hands. The disturbances that followed the spontaneous but peaceful protests demanding justice for Edson are being cynically used to distract from the real issue – the deaths of black and other ethnic minorities at the hands of the police and the increasing number of white working-class youth also being targeted for harassment and worse.

Family members say the hospital doctor informed them that Edson had a collapsed lung, diaphragm and ruptured bladder. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) claim is disingenuously silent on these injuries. The claim that “no serious force was used” is totally implausible and has already further discredited the IPCC.

Since 1990, 166 black/ethnic minority persons have died after contact with the police; nine resulted in unlawful killing inquest verdicts. Yet no police officer has been successfully prosecuted since 1969. The IPCC and CPS have no credibility on delivering justice for victims who die in police hands. The inevitable conclusion drawn by the black community is that police institutional racism is rampant and officers know they can act with impunity.

In 1996, Ibrahima Sey, who died a short distance away from Forest Gate in Ilford, was found “unlawfully killed” by an inquest jury. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) refused to prosecute any officers over the killing. Sey, like Edson, was sprayed with CS gas at close range and his breathing was restricted by use of force, as reported in Edson’s case.

It is a scandal that Newham Borough Commander, Ian Larnder, has not suspended the officers concerned. A teacher or social worker facing allegations of violence would be immediately suspended pending investigations. This only reinforces the conclusion that there is no serious intention to deliver justice for Edson.

We will continue to support mass community campaigns involving anti-racist organisations, trade unions and community groups supporting the family’s legal case to achieve justice for Edson; we will not be cowed or intimidated by racist reporting. On the contrary, this will only strengthen our determination to help seek justice for Edson and accountability of the police for his death.

 

 

 

 

Riot police attack peaceful protesters fighting for justice for Edson Da Costa

Protesters besieged Forest Gate police station in east London yesterday in protest at the killing of Edson Da Costa.

The peaceful protest saw people march to Stratford station where they were greeted by a massive ver reaction by the police who bussed in hundreds of riot police when there was no riot taking place. Later, in response to the police heavy-handedness protesters began to fightback.

A number of small fires were lit but the disturbances were confined to a small area of Romford Road with some kid celebrators getting caught up in the unnecessary and provocative police action.

Edson’s family had been pressured by police to call of the planned protest march. The police were more worried about ‘a riot’ than they were about justice for Edson who died after being stopped inc his car by police.

Edson’s neck was broken in two places and he and multiple head injuries. Witnesses say police were kneeling on his throat.

Incredibly the toothless police watchdog – the IPCC – claims that Edson was not injured but daily and hospital staff tell a different story.

Protesters furious with the cops demand justice for Edson Da Costa

From Socialist Worker

Bitter anger against the police burst onto the streets of east London last night, Sunday.

Hundreds of people protested demanding justice for Edir Frederico Da Costa, known as Edson, who died after being arrested on 15 June. “The police killed Edson,” one protester told Socialist Worker.

“They lied about what happened and we will fight until we get the truth.”

People gathered at Forest Gate police station, marched into Stratford shopping centre and then back to the police station. Chanting “Justice for Edson” and “We want justice” they wanted to make sure there cannot be a cover-up.

Protesters held a minute’s silence and then motorcycles revved their engines as people demanded answers from the police. Late into the night people were still outside the police station and fires were lit in the street.

Fabio, who was on the protest, told Socialist Worker, “They beat him, we have evidence that shows the police account is a lie. One of our brothers has been killed—and we want to know those responsible.

He added, “There have been too many cases like this, too many young black men killed by police. 

“This will not be another case where the police lies go unchallenged.”

The police stopped Edson in a car on 15 June. His family said that his neck was broken in two places, and that he had a fractured skull, a fallen voice box and a ruptured bladder.

The toothless Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) complained that this was “unhelpful speculation”, but admitted officers had used force and CS spray during the arrest. The IPCC later denied the injuries alleged by the family.

 

 

Ginario Da Costa, Edson’s father, told a Portuguese news agency that friends said Edson “fell to the ground and a police officer put a knee on his throat”.

Anne, a protester, said, “At Grenfell Tower we saw many, many people killed because the people at the top treat poor people and back people as unworthy. Here they treated Edson as unworthy. It is the same thing!

“You only get change when you fight, when you are a problem for the authorities. Grenfell must be a problem, we must be a problem.”

Protester Marlene added, “We want answers—we are not going away.”

A GoFundMe page was set up to support Edson’s family with funeral and legal expenses. It asks people to help “get justice for the cruel and brutal beating of a father, a son, a brother, cousin, uncle and dear friend”.

“This is a call for justice, not just for Edson but for all young men that are forgotten and unprotected in this reckless system.”

Edson was 25 years old and moved to Britain in 1996. He had a young son and his girlfriend is pregnant with his second child.

more at Socialist Worker. More background to Edson’s death at the hands of the police here

Racist Met cop openly admits to racial profiling of black DJ in car stop

The police seem to be intent on starting more riots with their brazen racism.

From the Guardian –

The police watchdog has launched an investigation after an officer pulled over a DJ driving a Bentley in central London and told him that black people driving in “gangster-style clothing” are more likely to be stopped.

DMO Deejay, 27, who plays weekly at the Dstrkt nightclub in Leicester Square, posted a video on YouTube, taken in early January, of him being pulled over by police while driving a Bentley GTC convertible in Piccadilly.

In the footage, the Metropolitan police officer tells the DJ: “This isn’t racist, it’s a fact. Predominantly, the criminal profile of people who do it [commit robberies in the area] are black people.

“So, naturally, if you see a car full of black lads, maybe dressed in gangster-style clothing or whatever, when they’re driving down there, they’re getting stopped.” more

 

Racist Bristol police Taser their own race relations adviser

Police in Bristol Tasered their own race equality adviser, 63-year-old Judah Adunbi. Racism runs deep in the British police force, as it does in the racist Tory government.

Adunbi,was walking his dog near his Bristol home on Saturday when he was ‘mistaken’ by police for a wanted man.

He argued with officers who demanded he give them his name before he was tasered and knocked to the ground by the force of the weapon.

The grandfather, who is a co-founder of the Independent Advisory Group the City,  thought he was going to die.

No Justice No peace. No Racist police.

Racists everywhere – including in the police – feel empowered by the racism of Donald Trump and the racist campaign to get the UK out of the racist European Union

British police have killed at least 11 people with Tasers in the past decade

Sorry to link to the racist Daily hate Mail. Will change as soon as we have another version of the video we can embed.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-1396141/Outrageous-moment-Bristol-police-officer-Tasers-man-face.html

Protest the Trump inauguration #J20 @US embassy and across the UK

Join the Dump Trump protests this Friday and the Women’s march on Saturday.

Trump is a clear and present danger to people of colour and all working people. We will not let his hate and division beat us. Let’s unite the struggles of all progressive forces in a movement to push back this bigot and the rising tide of racism associated with him.

Trump challenged Obama from day one of his presidency with his racist ‘birther’ movement. We must do the same. No normalisation of sexism and racism!

But let’s not forget also that it was the Democrats who threw away the US presidential election. Why didn’t they campaign in the rust belt states? Obama’s presidency promised changed but did not deliver. The black elite are showing themselves to part of the problem – yes we are are talking about you Kanye West (met Trump) and MLK III (met Trump also).

Since 2007/8 95% of the population in western countries have seen their incomes stagnate. The only beneficiaries of the years of neoliberal economic policies and the austerity policies have been the rich and their corporations.

We will need a massive social movement – not stunts to shut airports or disrupt transport hubs with tiny groups of middle class white people.

Unfortunately BLMUK – with whom we are not connected – have given us all a bad name with their stupidity, although we must defend those arrested and brought before the courts.

Without struggle there is no progress. Join the fightback in 2017!

Go to the Facebook event

There are local protests around the UK on Friday (and globally). See details below:

Dump Trump

  • Friday 20th January 2017: 5pm Trump inauguration protests
    Stand Up To Trump protests are planned in over 28 towns and cities across Britain on 20th January. The day Donald Trump will be inaugurated as President of the USA (see below for local details).
  • Barnsley Trump protest: 11am (Sat 21 Jan) May Day Green, Barnsley Precinct.
  • Bristol Trump protest: 5.30pm The Fountains (opposite Hippodrome) Central Promenade City Centre Bristol BS1 4XG
  • Liverpool Trump protest: 5.30pm, (steps of) Lime Street Station, Liverpool L1 1JD
  • Newcastle Trump protest: 5.30pm, Grey’s Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6JG

Huddersfield man Mohammed Yassar Yaqoob shot and killed by police

From the Guardian – An investigation is under way after a man was shot and killed by police during a pre-planned operation on the M62 motorway in Huddersfield.

Police said the incident was not terrorism-related, adding that there had been five arrests: three at the scene and two in a “related stop” of another vehicle in Bradford.

The man who died was named locally as Mohammed Yassar Yaqoob, 28, from Huddersfield.

Witnesses described an “absolute hive of police activity” as armed officers swooped on a car near junction 24 of the busy motorway at about 6pm on Monday. more

Buy Black Lives Matter t-shirts $13/£10

Charlotte cop walks free after shooting to death Keith Lamont Scott

From the Charlotte Observer – No charges will be brought against Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer Brentley Vinson in the September shooting death of a man in University City, District Attorney Andrew Murray announced Wednesday.

Keith Lamont Scott, 43, was shot Sept. 20 in a confrontation with officers outside his apartment.

Murray said that evidence in the case shows that Scott stepped out of his SUV with a gun in his hand and ignored at least 10 commands from the five officers on the scene to drop it.

Murray said that Scott obtained the gun – which had been stolen in Gaston County – 18 days before the confrontation. One bullet was found in the chamber of the gun, the safety was off and Murray said Scott’s DNA was found on the grip and ammunition slide.

Murray said that speculation in the community that Scott was unarmed – initial reports from a family member on Facebook said he was holding a book – were untrue.

“A reading book was not found in the front or back seats of Mr. Scott’s SUV,” Murray said.

Officer Vinson’s gun was examined after the shooting and four bullets were missing, Murray said. Guns taken from the other officers at the scene had not been fired, he said.