Category Archives: news

Tottenham protesters demand justice for Black youth assaulted by police

Two hundred people turned out to protest in Tottenham this Saturday (19 December) against the violent assault on Black children in Tottenham by police last Tuesday.

The event was organised by local activists and supported by Tottenham BLM, Enfield BLM, Haringey Stand Up To Racism, Haringey Extinction Rebellion and BLMM.

The mixed crowd heard from Andrew Boateng (his son was assaulted by police while on a charity ride for a community-police charity), Deliah Mattis (Enfield BLM), Sasha (from UK Black Panther), Vivek Lehal (from Stand Up To Racism), Tottenham activists Ken Hinds and Gary McFarlane, Nathaniel from the the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party, local black activists Empress (and AAPRP member), to name a few.

Local Labour councillor Matt White also spoke and sent solidarity greetings of support from the Labour group on Haringey Council.

Local MP David Lammy was absent (again).

Tottenham police backtrack – admit boy punched, no mention of headlock

Further statement from Detective Chief Superintendent Treena Fleming, North Area BCU Commander:

“I am deeply sorry for the upset and distress that our communities and residents have felt when viewing the video footage that is circulating on social media in relation to a young person being punched by a police officer on West Green Road, outside Parkview School on Tuesday, 8th December.

“No-one wishes to see such encounters escalate to the point where any members of the community or police officers are injured. This type of situation is distressing for all involved, both for the public and the police, and I sincerely apologise to the young persons and others who witnessed this incident.

“The videos that are circulating on social media are moments in time during a much longer incident and as distressing as these individual clips may appear I would respectfully ask that we allow the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) the time and space to thoroughly consider all of the information available. I do understand the need for our communities to be clear on what happened during the incident but this will only be established with an independent and fulsome investigation where all available material is viewed and scrutinised. I hope our communities understand that for all parties involved it would be unfair of me to comment any further on the incident itself until that process has taken place by the IOPC.

“Two of the officers involved in the incident have been redeployed away from frontline policing operations.

“My Senior Leadership Team and I are committed to strong community relations and engagement. We will continue to reach out to community leaders and members to hear your views and work with you all to move forward from this incident.

“I absolutely acknowledge the strength of community feeling about this particular incident, especially from our youngsters and parents on the Borough. It is right that we are held fully accountable for our actions, which is the reason why we voluntarily referred the public complaint to the IOPC and they are conducting an independent investigation. We fully support this.

“While this takes place I am determined to continually improve the policing service that we provide to you all locally, particularly involving the use of stop and search. I therefore want to bring forward, without delay, our plans to ensure more community scrutiny of such powers and to involve community representatives in our training.”

Press release from the IOPC:

For immediate release: 16 December 2020
 
Appeal for witnesses following the use of force on a 16-year-old boy in West Green Road, Tottenham

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating the use of force by Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) police officers on a 16-year-old boy in Tottenham, north London.

The use of force by officers occurred outside Parkview School in West Green Road, N15 around 4.45pm on Tuesday, 8 December. During the incident, the boy sustained facial injuries and was subsequently taken to hospital. Three officers suffered injuries during the altercation. Two of the officers were taken to hospital and subsequently discharged.
Our investigation follows a voluntary referral from MPS on 11 December, after a formal complaint was made alleging the boy was assaulted by a police officer.

IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem said: “We are aware of the significant community concerns raised as a result of this incident and have decided to independently investigate the complaint about the boy’s interactions with the police.
“Our independent investigation is in its early stages and in the coming days we will establish the scope of the investigation. We have already started gathering evidence, including mobile phone footage posted on social media, police officers’ body-worn video and eye-witness accounts.
“It is our job to oversee and investigate any complaints made about the police independently and impartially.

If you were in the area that evening and saw this incident, please get in touch with us. We are aware of a number of people nearby who may have photographed or filmed the incident on their mobile phones and would ask that they please come forward to help us with any information they may have.

“We will be investigating the police force’s use of stop and search tactics during this incident and whether the actions of those officers were appropriate, proportionate and followed approved police policies.
“We will also investigate if racial profiling or discrimination played a part in the incident.

“I would also stress that we are independent and make our decisions entirely independently of the police.”

Did you see anything? If so, witnesses can call 0300 303 5735 or email westgreenroad@policeconduct.gov.uk

ENDS

Protest at Tottenham police station on Saturday 19 December 12 noon, Tottenham High Road

Tottenham police now admit the black boy at the centre of the videos was punched by a police officer, although there is no mention of the headlock or the alleged kicking of a youth on the ground – so are the media that parroted the initial lies in the first statement going to issue an apology to the boys and the wider the community?

The authorities will now try and drag out the IOPC investigation and hope everyone forgets about this appalling incident – make sure that doesn’t happen by joining the protest on Saturday 12 noon at Tottenham police station (19 December)

Proud Boys thugs attempted lynching led to stabbing incident

A Black man – Phillip Johnson – has been arrested and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon for allegedly stabbing four people, thought to be members of the fascist Proud Boys street gang.

The incident happened on the Trump supporters’ protests in Washington DC at the weekend.

Turns out the fracas outside Harry’s Bar where the fascists thugs were meeting was an attempted lynching, judging by the New York Times report of the demonstration.

The Times reports that a number of the violent far-right gang had gathered at the bar and spotted a black man dressed in black and decide to attack him, even after three Trump supporters implored them to leave him alone.

The pack attacked and start beating the lone black man, ounching and kicking him.

Johnson managed to get free of the mob twice:

The NYT report continues: “At that point, the man pulled out a knife and began slashing with it as more demonstrators piled onto him. The man broke free twice, but was then grabbed and beaten again. Police officers intervened after the man was face down on the ground. Several protesters yelled that the man had a knife and had stabbed someone. The man’s face was swollen and bloodied when police officers picked him up.”

The paper says that minutes before the attack on Johnson, the fascists had targeted two black churches – the United Methodist Church (established in 1836) and the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, ripping down BLM flags outside the places of worship and burning them.

The pastor of the United Methodist Church, Rev. Dr. Ianther M. Mills, described the scene as reminiscent of a cross burning in the Deep South:

“We are a resilient people who have trusted in God through slavery and the Underground Railroad, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement,” she said, “and now as we face an apparent rise in white supremacy.”

Tottenham march to demand justice for Black youth, protest 19 Dec

Black Lives Matter Movement is calling for another protest at Tottenham police station to demand the sacking of violent police and the release of body cam videos to the public, following the attack by police officers on Black children in Tottenham last Tuesday 8th December.

Met police claims that three officers were injured in an incident outside Park View School in Tottenham have been condemned as ‘pure fiction’.

Ken Hinds, Chair of Haringey Independent Stop and Search Monitoring, viewed the body cams and expressed concerns about the police statement that was released to the public.

Another video has emerged (see below) that shows the police officer who featured prominently in the first public video, acting in a bullying manner and pushing members of the public and then holding a youngster in a dangerous headlock and then repeatedly punching him in the head.

Is it police practice to hold someone in a headlock and punch them in the head?

https://www.instagram.com/p/CIpkQQohtUH/

On Friday the 11 December Hinds attended a meeting called by Borough Commander Treena Fleming at which the body cam footage was shown.

The police statement said they were attacked and had to make a circle around the officer who was conducting the stop and search. The children were described in threatening tones as “four males”, when in fact they were kids picking up certificates from their former school.

The 16-year-old who was assaulted by the police was in hospital for several hours following the incident.

The youth taken to hospital by the police was subsequently held overnight at the police station.

Because of the seriousness of the incident, the borough commander enabled members of the monitoring group to view camera footage. It was followed by a ‘Gold meeting’ at which the police held talks with local councillors and other community stakeholders.

Local MP David Lammy was meant to have attended the Gold meeting but did not appear.

Body cam videos expose police lies

Local BLMM activist Gary McFarlane said: “The officer seen punching the Black youngster in the video took himself to the hospital as part of a ploy to build a false narrative – a narrative that is pure fiction but has since been repeated by the media as if it were the truth, when in fact it is a pack of lies.”

From the Guardian to the Evening Standard, the media has parroted the police statement uncritically, saying the video “appears to show” the officer punching the teenager, as if somehow that isn’t what the video shows.

Fleming said that the original video recorded by a witness only shows a  “snapshot in time and the wider context is not immediately obvious”.

But the wider context is the police launching an attack on defenceless children – one fought back in defence of the youth in the headlock. The children were at the school to pick up GCSE certificates and were conversing outside the gates when the police attacked them.

The teenagers are now all on bail, with the youth at the centre of the police violence left traumatised by the assault.

The Met lead on stop and search, Commander Jane Connors, held a meeting with community advocates on Monday, at which urgent answers will be sought about the routine use of force during stops and why the Met routinely handcuffs Black youth when they stop and search them.

Four youngsters were arrested by the police and have been released on bail, but it is the police that should be under arrest and charged with assault as well as misconduct in public office given the allegations related here.

Activists are planning a protest at Tottenham police station next weekend in order to keep up the pressure on the police and to demand justice for the youth.

BLMM demands the immediate release of all body cam footage into the public domain and the immediate sacking of all the police officers involved in the assault and the ongoing cover up.

More Tottenham police outrages: Taser report delayed, man dies in canal after chase

In disturbing developments that has just leaked out, the finding of a report into Jordan Walker Brown, who was tasered by Tottenham police and fell off a wall as a result and is now in a wheel chair for the rest of his life, has been delayed. The report was meant to have been released this month but has now been moved to January.

That incident was followed by the wrongful detention of Black youth out cycling with his Dad for a police-community charity. Huugo Boateng was injured by police in that incident.

Since then a man died after ending up in the River Lea canal after being chased by Tottenham police.

All money can be sent to Community Against Violence c/o Ken Hinds. More details to follow.

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Brandon Bernard executed – Trump lines up 4 more black men for murder

Brandon Bernard was murdered by the barabaric US government last night.

Bernard was in prison for the alleged killing of two people in 1999 when he was 18 years old.

This is the first Federal execution to take place for 17 years and the first during the period of a lame duck presidency for 130 years.

Four more black men are being fast-tracked for state murder by the Trump administration.

This is the same Trump who has been encouraging violence against his political opponents and praised a white supremacist youth – Kyle Rittenhouse –who shot dead a BLM protester.

NBC reports:

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.'”

Police attack Black child – urgent march on Tottenham police station

Police attack on a black child outside ParkView School in Tottenham has caused outrage in the community.

The policeman violently attacked the 16-year-old last night (Thursday 10th December) with repeated punches to the face.

The violent racist incident happened outside Park View School on West Green Road, Tottenham.

The borough commander is being contacted by local councillors and local police monitoring will be viewing the body cam later today.

Two officers were involved in the violent assault – one who did the punching seen in the video and another who just stood by and watched.

The cop who perpetrated this violent assault must be sacked immediately and the other officer present at minimum immediately suspended.

This police must be held to account TODAY!

Police attack black child – join today’s protest march to demand justice NOW!

Meet at 2pm Friday December 11th at Park View School, West Green Road N15 3QR.

March to Tottenham Police station. Bring banners, make a noise! No justice, no peace.

Violent racist police out of our communities!

The summer witnessed numerous protests outside Tottenham police station against their racist stop and search harassment of Black youth.

This just in from Councillor Khaled Moyeed:

Defend the Colston Four arrested and charged for doing the right thing

It’s time to defend the Colston Four, who have outrageously been charged with criminal damage for doing the right thing by toppling slave trader Colston’s statue in Bristol

The four individuals charged are: Rhian Graham, 29, Milo Ponsford, 25, Jake Skuse, 32, and Sage Willoughby, 21.

They will be up in court on 25 January.

We need to make sure there are loud and vociferous protests when the four appear. As many as 15,000 people were on the protests in Bristol the day the statue found a fitting watery end.

This was an act that should be celebrated and will go down in the history books as a blow for the cause of freedom and equality.

Defend the Colston Four – they are on the right side of history!

Edward Colston’s statue was erected at the end of the nineteenth century, but there was no vote by the people of Bristol over whether that was a good idea – indeed most people in Bristol – by law – didn’t have a vote! We must defend the Colston Four for doing the right thing by pulling it down.

And course the abolitionists movement itself was a working-class affair in this country, albeit led by middle class individuals, may of them associated with the Quakers.

At the head of the movement was the radical Thomas Clarkson who travelled 35,000 miles across Britain building the first national mass social movement in British history.

In expending police resources on hunting down protesters, the authorities are again showing which side of history they are on, and it doesn’t look good.

In July a daring raid installed a new statue, of BLM protester Jen Reid

In July the plinth had a new statue – of protester Jen Reid, but the council in its infinite wisdom removed the beautiful art work by artist Marc Quinn.

Jen Reid stands in front of a sculpture of herself erected in place of Edward Colston on 15 July 2020
Protester Jen Reid stands in front of a sculpture of herself

QPR players defy racists to take the knee after scoring against Millwall

Well done to the QPR team for standing up to the racist.

But the club itself had previously (in September) put out a statement saying they would not be taking the knee but has now reversed that decision. Looks like there was a rebellion in the ranks. Excellent!

After scoring a goal against Millwall, Ilias Chair (and Bright Osayi-Samuel) celebrated by taking the knee.

As for Millwall FC, well what can we say?

Basically they bottled it on the official side, after a minority of fans booed ‘take the knee’ last weekend. The official response was to get players to stand in a circle holding hands, but many individuals ‘took the knee’ anyway.

Backlash from racist Tories against Take The Knee solidarity protests

There is clearly a backlash coming from the government, the right-wing media, the more backward elements at the top of some football clubs and the, thankfully, much smaller forces of the far right, to try and push back against anti-racism’s successes with the explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement.

They will not succeed. Black and white unite and fight! Solidarity forever!

Ilias Chair takes the knee for BLM
Chair takes the knee in solidarity with BLM and the fight for racial equality

Tory ministers make apologies for far-right ‘take the knee’ booing

A minority of Millwall FC fans covered themselves in ignominy at the weekend when they booed black and white footballers ‘taking the knee’ to show solidarity with the fight for racial justice.

To its credit Millwall FC has chastised the booing racists among its supporters. The club said it was “dismayed and saddened” by the actions of the racist minority.

Across the country fans were returning to football stadia for the first time since the Covid pandemic began.

Some of the racist thugs associated with the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA), thought they would try a similar stunt at Spurs but instead supporters applauded the take the knee gesture of the football pros.

Similar take the knee happenings at matches across the country went off without a hitch, which is what makes the Millwall incident all the worse.

However, despite all right thinking people reacting with horror, that wasn’t the reaction of one Tory minister – George Eustice, the minister for the environment.

When asked about the racist incident and asked to condemn it, he failed to do so.

Asked on Sky News what he thought of the incident, he was more concerned with attacking BLM and fomenting ‘culture wars’ than he was with standing up to racism: “Well, look, I didn’t see that event.

“The issue of race and racial discrimination is something that we all take very, very seriously.

“My personal view is that Black Lives Matter, capital B, L and M, is actually a political movement that is different to what most of us believe in which is standing up for racial equality.

“But look, each individual can take their own choices about how they reflect this and I know a lot of people feel quite strongly about taking that approach.”

The government seems intent on doing its best to emulate Trump in whipping up racism.

Eustice’s alignment with the far-right is worrying, as is Priti Patel’s insistence in likening lawyers doing their jobs as “lefty activists”.

Patel even went as far as to say those campaigning to stop the deportation of people who came to this country from Jamaica when they were kids, as being an insult to the Windrush generation, when it is her government that created that scandal in the first place and of which the latest deportation flight to Jamaica is a part.

Take the knee: Tories trying to whip up racial division

Ok, so not everyone wants to take part in ‘take the knee’ events, and that is their prerogative, but to boo is to make an explicit statement of hostility, which can only be described as an endorsement of racism.

Tory minister James Cleverly said it was wrong to boo ‘taking the knee’, but then went on to make apologies for the racists:

‘Anyone who believes it was a racist act should read the views of those who booed and see they were doing it in reaction to the war memorials and statues of Churchill defaced by the BLM organisation and the extreme political views they hold and for which “taking the knee” is associated with.’

But there is more than one BLM organisation for a start, and the person or persons who wrote the graffiti on the Churchill statue were individuals on a demonstration of thousands

In truth Churchill was a racist – this is a statement of fact. But the Tories and their far right supporters are really just looking for excuses to undermine the movement.

The Tories are trying to play divide and rule and spread the lie that working class people are some how hostile to racism, implying that there are two working classes – one white and one black.

But this is of course far from the truth as this story from the summer of football fans in Birmingham marching against racism shows.

37 saved from Jamaica deportation but 13 gone is still too many


By Zita Holbourne (reproduced from change.org)

I  have mixed emotions today.  We are really happy that  37 of the 50 people given a removal notice to Jamaica  were not deported. Only 13 were taken. But that’s  still 13 too many, it’s  still 13 families ripped apart, most with children who are distraught, traumatised and confused.

I spoke last night with a  partner of one of those being deported. She had the unbearably painful experience  of telling her children that their daddy was being deported and they had to say good  on the phone. Her ten year old son asked her as he was half Jamaican was he going to be deported too.  

This evening I spoke to their  ten year old and five year old children and it broke my heart. Their five year old daughter said that thing she would miss the most is watching movies and eating popcorn with her dad and that it is making her sad.  Their ten year old son told me that what he will miss  is seeing his dad and hugging him. He told me that he feels really angry about it and he would like to speak to the person who made the decision to deport his dad and he would like to tell them that they are breaking families apart. 


But it was through people power that we were able to have an impact that made a difference. 


The pressure we applied collectively led to all those who arrived in the UK aged under 12 being taken off the flight, then others were taken off due to the right to family life because they have children in the UK and because they were the victims of modern day slavery. 

So we would like to thank the other campaign groups, the lawyers, public figures, politicians and every single one of you for signing this petition, sharing our updates, taking part in the various actions. 

I was proud but also saddened  that it was needed, to co-sign a letter with black celebrities and public figures calling on 5 airlines known to carry out charter flight deportations: https://www.elle.com/uk/life-and-culture/culture/a34818984/naomi-campbell-thandie-newton-stop-windrush-deportation-plane/


 But once we had heard from all the airlines  we wrote to that they were not operating the flight, attention focused on Privilege Style airline who we subsequently found out were the airline that operated the plane from Stansted .


As predicted the Home Office started gathering people to transfer them to the airport early last evening . But during the course of the evening and before this the days running up to it, we received calls from several of the #jamaica50 telling us they had been taken of the flight.


Even once people had been taken on board the aircraft where they were shackled from the waist down, cuffed  to two guards, four more people were physically taken off the plane and returned to detention. 

Flight P69139 operated by Privilege Style airline departed Stansted at 1.10am for  Norman Manley airport Kingston, Jamaica.

As the thirteen ( never has 13 felt like such an unlucky number as now), arrived in Jamaica this morning they would usually have been taken to  Harmon barracks to be processed at the  police station there but I have received news from Jamaica that they were taken to a hotel for two days  for covid testing. The Jamaican health minister said that once they have undergone tests they will be sent home to quarantine. If only that was the case and they were sent home to the UK. Quite what he meant by home I don’t  know. 


Many of those we have spoken to over the past couple of weeks said they have nobody in Jamaica.  If there is no family or friend to take you in, you are dependent on charities and forced to go to a shelter.  


People find themselves destitute,  with the stigma of screaming news headlines about them being hardened criminals of the worse kind hanging over them and nobody wanting anything to do with them let alone employ them.


In the past some people deported have sadly taken their own lives. My thoughts are with those families who lost a loved one.


News coverage has been International  with coverage in fashion magazine Elle as well as Forbes magazine who interviewed  me this evening  and I talked there about the multiple sentence / punishment , prison, then detention, deportation,  destitution, isolation, exile, trauma and pain, not just for them   but punishment for their families here in the UK including their children. 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/chantaldasilva/2020/12/02/uk-moves-ahead-with-jamaica-deportation-flight-on-first-day-out-of-lockdown-despite-opposition/

The government  claim people had ample time to get legal representation  and have again criticised lawyers for successful  last minute appeals, branding them ‘activist lawyers’ but in reality those targeted for this flight had less than two weeks notice and for some  as little as 5 days to get legal representation and make their case, in the middle of a pandemic and lockdown, with no funds, with no access to the computer room at one detention  centre , with misinformation  by immigration  officers at another and caseworker not answering the phone for days and immigration officers  taking days to fax paperwork to lawyers, during a period of trauma and confusion  for them and their families. Then when legal action is taken the government claim it should have been done months before. How are people supposed to get legal representation  for a deportations they don’t  even know is going to happen let alone impact on them personally? Attacking lawyers for doing their job and representing their clients is disgraceful.  


We need your continued support for this campaign please. This petition is about all mass deportations,  not just this one, plus we are campaigning  on the ‘hostile       environment’ including compensation  for the Windrush generation, for the 30   Windrush lessons learned recommendations to be implemented and for an independent public inquiry into the Windrush scandal. 


Please share and sign our petition opposing the Warehouse K  immigration enforcement centre the Home Office want to move to Newham with 35 holding cells, in close proximity to London City Airport.

https://www.change.org/p/home-office-oppose-warehouse-k-immigration-enforcement-centre

Thank you for all your responses to  letters to MPs, these are still  arriving even tonight, thank you  for sharing updates on social media, lobbying those complicit and more.

We are overwhelmed  by the messages of thanks and support  we have received today, there have been so many that we haven’t  been able to send a personal reply to everyone.  But we appreciate  them and they keep us uplifted knowing you are all with us, after what has been a tiring and stressful fortnight. 


Stay updated via @baracuk and @bamefor on Twitter and @baracukoriginal on Instagram, but we will update you on here too.


Our work for migrant rights includes supporting people who are displaced – refugees  – due to climate change,  persecution,  poverty and /or conflict and those here  with no recourse  to public funds, providing food, blankets, toiletries and clothes plus other essential  items, this is another way to support  our work. 

https://www.gofundme.com/f/BARACHumanitarian

 
#jamaica50 #rememberthe13.


To the 13 families impacted – our thoughts and hearts are with you at this terrible  time for you. 


Regards and thanks


Zita 


Zita Holbourne 
National Chair BARAC UK 


On behalf of BARAC UK and BAME Lawyers for Justice 

Change.org petition:

https://www.change.org/p/stop-all-charter-flight-mass-deportations-to-jamaica-other-commonwealth-countries-jamaica50/