Statement on Cecil Gutzmore: LCAPSV Opposes Violence Against Women

London Campaign Against Police Violence (LCAPSV) call upon Cecil Gutzmore to acknowledge and apologise for the violence and harm done towards a member of our organisation, S. Until he does so, we call on other groups and individuals with emancipatory politics to take the following actions:

(i)  Withdraw or withhold invitations for Cecil Gutzmore to speak at public/private events
(ii) Decline sharing public/private platforms with Cecil Gutzmore

Background

Cecil is a former member of LCAPSV and resigned from our group while he was undergoing an accountability process. On 20 July 2017, Cecil Gutzmore lost an appeal against conviction for the use of violence to secure entry to premises.

The case involved threatened violence against a woman as Cecil, using a crowbar, tried to force entry into his former partner’s home, S. This incident occurred on 19 December 2016, after a relationship breakdown between them, he demanded entry into S’ home and knocked on her door every hour from 9pm until 7am on the 20th.

Around 7am on the 20th, Cecil left the area and then returned within the hour to S’ home with a crowbar. S woke up to find Cecil attempting to break in by destroying her front door. S refused to allow Cecil in and asked him to leave and told him that she was behind the front door so he should not continue to damage it as he could injure her in the process. Despite Cecil’s full understanding of the situation, he continued with full force to use a crowbar to tear S’ front door down with her behind it. In fear for her life, S called fellow members for help, and as Cecil started to break through the door, the police arrived at 8am. Cecil was taken away then later charged and prosecuted.

Cecil was found guilty in March 2017 and afterwards he chose to appeal, causing further emotional harm to S who was forced to relive this traumatic incident in court for a second time.

Cecil Gutzmore is a public figure and veteran emancipation campaigner in the pan-African community. We believe he has failed to live up to expected standards that are essential for anyone fighting for liberation and reparations for institutional harm.

Cecil Gutzmore’s continued refusal to atone and take responsibility for his violent behaviour continues to cause personal harm and trauma to his former partner S, as well as undermine the anti-oppression and anti-violence struggles he has been involved in.

LCAPSV abhors this violence and gendered intimidation or violence in any form.

Until Cecil Gutzmore makes a full, unequivocal and unreserved apology in writing to his former partner LCAPSV calls upon individuals, groups and organisations to:

(i)  Withdraw or withhold invitations for Cecil Gutzmore to speak at public/private events
(ii) Decline sharing public/private platforms with Cecil Gutzmore

Once a sincere apology has been made and accepted, we believe this act should make it clear that those dedicated to emancipation, liberty and fighting oppression should behave with integrity and be accountable to our community for any abuse they perpetrate.

ENDS

 

Statement from Marcia Rigg and Inquest on Sergeant Paul White perjury trial verdict

justice-for-sean-rigg

 

A jury today found Sergeant Paul White of the Metropolitan Police not guilty of perjury. The trial followed an investigation into Sgt White’s evidence at the inquest concerning the death of Sean Rigg.

This was the first time criminal charges for perjury have been bought against a serving police officer following a death in police custody. Sgt White was the custody officer on duty the night that Sean Rigg died at Brixton police station on 21st August 2008.

Evidence cited during the trial demonstrated Sgt White had given a detailed but false version of events the night Sean died. His statement said he checked on Sean in the police van, but CCTV evidence proved this was not the case.

This landmark case, whilst failing to secure a criminal conviction, highlights three critical lessons for future prosecutions:

1. Victim Right to Review – without this and the family’s determination, a case of such public importance would never have come to trial. The Crown Prosecution Service should have acted on the evidence earlier, saving the family and other parties two more years of uncertainty and legal costs.

2. Unacceptable length and poor quality of IPCC investigations – it has been four years since the damning inquest into Sean’s death and eight years since his death. IPCC failings going back to 2008 and 2009, including delays and inaction, allowed unchallenged false evidence to go before the inquest, and ultimately provided Sgt White with a plausible explanation for his false evidence.  Urgent lessons must be leant by the state bodies responsible for oversight and accountability following a death in police custody, to prevent a repeat of the exhaustive delays in this case.

3. All police officers have a professional duty to provide a full and truthful account of events, where there has been a death in police custody. Officers are not above the law and if it is believed that officers have not given true and accurate evidence, they will be held to account. Families will pursue the truth.

Marcia Rigg, Sean Rigg’s sister and campaigner said:

“I am devastated. The jury’s verdict was a surprise to me and my family, but I will continue to fight for full accountability for those officers who were on duty at Brixton Police Station. That a custody sergeant can give false evidence in connection with a death in custody, something he accepts he did, is a shocking state of affairs. I await the MPS decision on disciplinary charges on this issue.

The fact that Sgt White’s defence rested on the failure of the IPCC to challenge his false evidence in March 2009 is a cause of significant public concern. The public is entitled to expect better from the police and those who are charged with ensuring police accountability.

I will be raising with the CPS, and if necessary Parliamentarians, the question of what ‘agreed facts’ go before criminal juries in relation to deaths in custody, given that the narrative conclusion of the inquest jury was excluded from the criminal trial.”

Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST said:

“Sean Rigg’s family have struggled at every stage of this eight year process for honesty, truth and justice.The failure of the IPCC to conduct an efficient, robust and competent investigation and the inexcusable delays in CPS decision making have been exposed as a barrier to proper democratic police accountability. If left unchecked, this institutional inertia will allow abuses of power to go undeterred and continue to undermine public confidence in the police complaints system.”

Statement in response to Metropolitan Police Federation on Notting Hill Carnival 2016

image

The day following this years Notting Hill Carnival celebrations, Ken Marsh, the Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation made a calculated move to smear carnival-goers. Not only is this part of a concerted attempt to remove Carnival from the cultural landscape of London, it represents the latest attack on black social life in a summer where the Met have already declared a war on young people, using extreme force to stop young people on school holiday from having water fights, and encouraging the public to report entirely legal and peaceful behaviour.

The figures put out are dishonest: while 43 officers were injured working at Carnival, it is not at all clear how many of those injuries, if any, were sustained as the result of contact with members of the public. Ken Marsh is obviously massaging statistics to make a point where there is none to be made. A significant number of arrests were also made for non-violent drug-related offenses linked to the use of the Psychoactive Substances Act. Furthermore the comparison made by Marsh to Glastonbury is disingenuous: Carnival has ten times more attendees than Glastonbury, which puts the 450 arrests this weekend compared with 167 at Glastonbury into a more clear light. The introduction of Glastonbury by Marsh speaks to broader code at work in his comments: Carnival, a free black cultural event taking place in the heart of the city, is framed as inherently violent, uncontrollable and a drain on public resources. In contrast, Glastonbury, where predominantly white crowds can pay large sums of money to watch rock music in a rural setting, is safe and peaceful.

We would suggest that it is in fact the very presence of Police at Carnival which is the problem here. Section 60 was imposed over Carnival weekend. This allowed police officers to stop and search members of the public without grounds. It has been consistently demonstrated that when Stop and Search is deployed in this way it unfairly targets black and brown people, while failing to do anything to effectively detect crime. In addition when carnival draws to a close on each night, Police in riot gear move aggressively through crowds forcing people from the streets. In such a context it would have been understandable if the police had experienced hostility from the public. Ken Marsh’s story is pure fantasy. Carnival has, since its inception, been about a celebration of Caribbean culture in the face of state and everyday racism. It is open to all and is a celebration of collective spirit which is sadly lacking in London at the present moment. If we allow statements like that put out by the Metropolitan Police Federation to go unchallenged there is a real possibility we will soon lose over 50 years of Caribbean history in this country encapsulated by Carnival. If that happens we will truly know a crime has been committed.

Police Complaints Clinic – Launch 25th August 2016

DO YOU HAVE A COMPLAINT TO MAKE ABOUT THE POLICE?

RUDE? VIOLENT? RACIST?

Lots of people in London have had bad experiences with the police. Last year nearly seven thousand complaints were made. Many more don’t complain because they don’t know how to go about it, or feel that it won’t amount to anything. That’s not good enough. That’s why we’ve set up the police complaints clinic, a service to guide local people through the police complaints process, and make sure that their voice is heard, leading to real change. Making a complaint can be frustrating and difficult, but it gets a lot easier with the support of our expert volunteers.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO FACE IT ALONE!

The police complaints clinic has been set up by the London Campaign Against Police and State Violence, and Stop-Watch. We think the police should be held to account when they mistreat and abuse people. Making a complaint about their behaviour when they step out of line is part of this. We can’t take care of your complaint for you, but between us our volunteers have lots of experience of handling police complaints, so we can guide you through making a complaint step by step. We’ll be with you all the way.

The service is completely free!

email: slondon.surgery@gmail.com

Last Thursday of

every month 6-8pm

25th August

29th September

27th October

24th November

29th December

26th January

The PACCA TMO

81 Lothian Road

(corner of

Patmos Road

near Myatt’s Fields)

SW9 6TS

Fruitvale Film Club -31st July – The Story of Lover’s Rock

imgres.jpg

The London Campaign Against Police and State Violence is a friends- and family-led campaign group opposing all forms of police and state brutality against communities in London and beyond. We put on a monthly free film screening at “The Field” in New Cross, to provide a space where it is possible to enjoy an interesting movie but also to share and discuss experiences of violence, objectification, oppression and harassment.

For our July screening we will be showing The Story of Lover’s Rock by Menelik Shabazz. This documentary deals with the Lover’s Rock genre of UK reggae that emerged in South London during the late 1970s and 1980s. Notable for its romantic ballads and the prominence given to a number of young Black British women artists in the scene, the genre is one of the gems of bass culture.

For more details about the film and the scene, see this from the reggae historian David Katz:

“Lover’s rock emerged in the mid-1970s, when the owners of London’s soundsystems began cutting romantic ballads with young women singing: Count Shelly issued Ginger Williams’s Tenderness in 1974, only to be surpassed the following year by 14-year-old Louisa Mark’s Caught You in a Lie, a peculiar rendition of an obscure soul song, put together by Bovell for Lloydie Coxsone’s soundsystem. The emerging genre solidified after a Jamaican immigrant, Dennis Harris, opened a recording studio in south-east London, with Dennis Bovell and guitarist John Kpiaye as the in-house players. They crafted reggae cover versions of Motown and Philadelphia soul ballads with vocals from TT Ross, Cassandra and the harmony trio Brown Sugar, featuring future Soul II Soul vocalist Caron Wheeler. Once Harris formed a label called Lover’s Rock, borrowing the name from an Augustus Pablo dub B-side, the new music had its name.

“The name came from the record label, in the same way that early ska in this country was named after the Blue Beat label,” says Linton Kwesi Johnson, the reggae poet whose regular backing band has featured Bovell and Kpiaye since the late 1970s. “It was a way to give women a voice in reggae music in Britain, and an alternative to the social commentary of the male-dominated productions. Like British reggae in general, lover’s rock provided cultural continuity for the second generation [of black Britons], albeit with a distinctive British sound.”

All are welcome on Sunday 31st July at 3pm for the screening at The Field which will be followed by discussion and refreshments.

Sunday 10th July: Building Community Defence Now

bpp-1500x632-1Racism is rising on our streets and the Police are unreliable at best to stop the attacks. Street and State racism is growing and communities under attack need to organise to protect themselves and stop racist violence.

London Campaign Against Police & State Violence has come together with Stop Watch, the stop-and-search campaign, to hold a meeting on Community Defence, taking inspiration from the 50th anniversary of the Black Panthers.

We will also be launching our South London Legal Surgeries as part of our campaign to resist state racism and violence. We haven’t got all the ideas and  are interested in working with more people on stopping racist violence in all its forms.

Sunday 10th July 2016 – 2:30 to 6:30pm

Karibu Education Centre
7 Gresham Road
Brixton
SW9 7PH(opposite the police station, 5 mins from Brixton Tube)

Entrance free – donations welcome

RSVP via EventBrite or Facebook

Fruitvale Film Club – Babylon – 26th June

GAC_Babylon.jpg

The London Campaign Against Police and State Violence is a friends- and family-led campaign group opposing all forms of police and state brutality against communities in London and beyond. We put on a monthly free film screening at “The Field” in New Cross, to provide a space where it is possible to enjoy an interesting movie but also to share and discuss experiences of violence, objectification, oppression and harassment. This could include intrusions such as constant stop and search, or physical violence, or the everyday stress of being made to feel you somehow have to account for yourself and your experiences of racism. We’re now back from our Easter break and we’ve planned a great line-up of Black British films for the spring and summer months.

For our June event, we will be screening ‘Babylon’, a 1980 British film co-written by Martin Stellman (writer of Quadrophenia) and Franco Rosso, who also directed it.
Produced by Gavrik Losey and the National Film Finance Corporation, the film is regarded as a classic. It depicts the struggles of a Black British working-class musician and stars Brinsley Forde of the reggae band Aswad. Babylon also starred Karl Howman and Trevor Laird. Music was scored by Dennis Bovell. Included are songs by Aswad, Johnny Clarke, and Jeff Wayne (who wrote the musical version of The War of the Worlds), among others.
Babylon was filmed on the streets of Deptford and Brixton, London. The story centres on sound system culture and themes of police racism, violence against blacks, poverty and disillusion with lack of opportunities.

Fruitvale Film Club -Sunday 29th May – Young Soul Rebels

ysrebelsrev.jpg

The London Campaign Against Police and State Violence put on a monthly free film screening at “The Field” in New Cross, to provide a space where it is possible to enjoy an interesting movie but also to share and discuss experiences of violence, objectification, oppression and harassment. This could include intrusions such as constant stop and search, or physical violence, or the everyday stress of being made to feel you somehow have to account for yourself and your experiences of racism. We’re now back from our Easter break and we’ve planned a great line-up of Black British films for the spring and summer months.

For our May screening we will be showing Isaac Julien’s 1991 feature film Young Soul Rebels on Sunday 29th May . For background on the film, see the following quote from Julien: ‘The real starting point for Young Soul Rebels was the desire to make a film about 1977. That year was so important because on the one hand you had the incredible chauvinism of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and on the other there were powerful counter narratives that outlined new kinds of national possibilities. Now everybody knows about the one called “punk”, which was at its height in 1977 and which was a very obvious opposition. But there was another counter narrative, much disdained by the Left, which was the growth of a black popular culture particularly in terms of disco music – soul music.’

Fruitvale Film Club takes place at “The Field” in New Cross on the last Sunday of every month at 3pm and will last a few hours. We’ve shown a diverse range of films so far (Fruitvale Station, Pressure, Candyman, Poetic Justice and the anti-psychiatric abuse documentary Whose Mind is it Anyway – John’s Story). Anyone is welcome at our events and anyone is welcome to suggest future films for us to show and discuss.

South London Legal Surgery – LCAPSV & StopWatch

url.jpg

South London Legal Surgery

This Summer the London Campaign Against Police Violence and StopWatch are launching a monthly legal surgery in South London to support the local community in making complaints and taking legal action against the police. To do this, we need people to get involved who can volunteer a small amount of their time to support victims of police violence in their demand for justice. Volunteering your time will be vital to the success of this project, and will be a rewarding way of fighting injustice where you live.

What’s the context?

Violence, harrassment, intimidation, discrimination and racism are all serious issues that the police in Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham have continuously failed to address for the last hundred years. It has long been acknowledged that the Metropolitan Police are institutionally racist, and have done little to change this state of affairs since the murder of Stephen Lawrence over twenty years ago.

In the last few years, LCAPSV has dealt with everything from racial profiling, to the misuse of stop and search powers, to the use of the controversial ‘hard stop’ tactic and the application of a punitive anti-gang initiative in Lambeth named ‘Operation Shield’. Each of these is an instance of racist and abusive policing oppressing BME communities in South London. We believe it is important to build the capacity and institutions that help to resist this history of oppression. To do this effectively it is vital to provide support for people who are the victim of injustice and want to seek redress.

What are our aims?

One way to combat this problem is to increase the volume of complaints being made, and increase the support complainants are given when they want to demand justice from the police. We can do this by providing a legal surgery that addresses police abuse as a political issue, giving free assistance and support so that complaints are harder to dismiss.It is also important to make complaints of abuse against the police a bigger deal through increased protest and publicity. We can also encourage people with more serious complaints to find professional, committed lawyers who are particularly good at holding the police to account through the legal system.

The more complaints that we support, the more we will also be able to build up a picture of the state of policing across South London, and particular areas or activities of concern to the local community.
To do this, LCAPSV and StopWatch are setting up a legal surgery where a mixture of professional lawyers and trained ‘buddies’ can support people making a complaint, and help them find the best course of action for getting justice.
What is a buddy?
Buddies can be anybody, with any or no level of previous experience. The most important thing is to be committed to opposing the racist and abusive policing of South London’s communities, and willingness to share a small amount of your time to make this happen.

Buddies will be given training by lawyers whose expertise is in actions against the police. They will also be supported and advised at thesurgeries by these lawyers.

Buddies will be expected to give up some of their time to attend at least two or three surgeries a year, and to provide support to individuals who are making complaints (such as drafting statements, attending meetings with lawyers, helping with correspondence).

How you can help?

Sign up to be a buddy! Once you’ve done that, we’ll be in contact about providing training and support so that you know what you’re doing, and how to help the people coming to the surgery for support.

Being a buddy doesn’t mean attending every surgery every month, and at the lowest estimate shouldn’t take up more than a couple of hours a month.

Where cases are more serious, more time a month (up to 10 hours) may be needed, but we can share these out together so nobody feels overwhelmed or isolated.

Everything will be monitored and supported by the legal team, and the LCAPSV casework support officers.

Next steps

Contact lcapsv@gmail.com to register your interest or to ask any further questions.

Fruitvale Film Club – Sunday 24th April – Burning An Illusion

imgres

The London Campaign Against Police and State Violence put on a monthly free film screening at “The Field” in New Cross, to provide a space where it is possible to enjoy an interesting movie but also to share and discuss experiences of violence, objectification, oppression and harassment. This could include intrusions such as constant stop and search, or physical violence, or the everyday stress of being made to feel you somehow have to account for yourself and your experiences of racism. We’re now back from our Easter break and we’ve planned a great line-up of Black British films for the spring and summer months.

We kick off this new run with Menelik Shabazz’s classic 1981 film Burning an Illusion. Burning an Illusion is about a young British-born Black woman’s love life, mostly shot in London’s Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove communities. It was only the second British feature to have been made by a black director, following Horace Ové’s 1975 Pressure, and is described by Stephen Bourne as “the first British film to give a black woman a voice of any kind.” Burning an Illusion is notable for breaking the tradition of placing white males at the centre of the story. It is also unique in prioritizing the personal drama of a black woman over the socio-economic and political conflicts traditionally associated with such films. As Ade Solanke writes: “Like all drama, the film is about characters facing conflicts. But unlike most dramas about black people up till then, for most of the story it dramatises personal conflicts, not socio-economic or political ones.” (from Wikipedia) We’ll follow Burning an Illusion with Shabazz’s short film ‘Blood Ah Goh Run’, which documents the impact of the New Cross massacre in 1981.

Fruitvale Film Club takes place at “The Field” in New Cross on the last Sunday of every month at 3pm and will last a few hours. We’ve shown a diverse range of films so far (Fruitvale Station, Pressure, Candyman, Poetic Justice and the anti-psychiatric abuse documentary Whose Mind is it Anyway – John’s Story). Anyone is welcome at our events and anyone is welcome to suggest future films for us to show and discuss.

You can find the Facebook event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1580467362266597/