Category Archives: UK

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.

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.

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.

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)

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.

https://secureservercdn.net/160.153.138.42/d29.586.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/copsintottenham_3.mp4
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.

Download social media promos/flyers below:

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.

Protester Jen Reid stands in front of a sculpture of herself