“Officer there is no need for this!”

Content Note: Video footage of an aggressive arrest on a man of South Asian heritage

On Sunday 19th December, a young man of South Asian heritage is accosted by Thames Valley Police in the Buckinghamshire area.

The Police asked for his details, he was under no legal obligation to provide it unless he was driving a car. Apparently the Police forcefully and perhaps unnecessarily put him on the ground to arrest him and claimed that his refusal to identify himself was the reason for the arrest, on these facts alone, we believe this arrest is unlawful. We post the video, purely for the audio as the footage is poor and will support any further action the man decided to take against Thames Valley Police.

Watch for yourself and share this video.

Jermaine Baker Meeting Tonight

By Stafford Scott

Following the fatal shooting of Jermaine Baker and with the subsequent on going homicide investigation by the IPCC, the Peace Alliance and Tottenham Rights will be hosting a community meeting to address any emerging community concerns.

This will be held at 6:30pm on Thursday 17th December 2015 at the Tottenham Town Hall, Town Hall Approach, London, N15 4RY.

The IPCC will be in attendance along with Haringey Council and the Metropolitan Police. The local MPs have been invited and will most likely be In attendance. The solicitors for Jermaine Baker’s family will be attending  and continue to urge that the media respect the wishes of the family for privacy.

Join our end of year social

This Sunday, come and join London Campaign Against Police & State Violence for end of year drinks and refreshments!

Date & Time: Sunday 13th December, 3pm – 7pm
Location: Hootananny, 95 Effra Road, Brixton, SW2 1DF
Event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/196162920722876/

All newcomers will be offered a free beverage of their choice and have an opportunity to speak with our activists and organisers.

Throughout the year, LCAPSV has continued to support several individuals who faced bogus charges of police obstruction and assaulting a Police Officer, in all of these cases they resulted in those charges being either dropped or acquitted.

We have also worked with others to lead a campaign against Operation Shield, a police pilot enabling the police to evict families from social housing on the basis of suspicion of criminal activity. Two councils since have officially claimed to have pulled out, read about that here

In May, we worked with Defend the Right to Protest and NUS Black Students Campaign to hold a vigil for Julian Cole and Freddie Gray

Below is a video from the vigil:

In August, we ran our Brixton Splash Cop Watch for the second year with volunteers and monitored police activity.

In October, we worked with Cherry Groce’s family to hold a memorial event for the 30th anniversary of her shooting and our members exposed that zero complaints about police racism were upheld over the last 12 months.

We have also worked to run lunch clubs with Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth and now our own Fruitvale Film clubs at the Field in New Cross

2016 will come with more challenges not least due to the new powers to search drivers for immigration status under the Government’s Immigration Bill 2015-16.

We hope you can join us to reflect over the year and look towards the new one!

Abolition or Reform? Dismantling Criminal Justice

Below is LCAPSV’s introductory text for Reclaim Justice Network’s event: Abolition or Reform? Dismantling Criminal Justice, which is next Thursday, 6:30pm at University College London. More details here: https://downsizingcriminaljustice.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/event-abolition-or-reform-dismantling-criminal-justice-19-november-2015/

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London Campaign Against Police & State Violence came together after our Chair, Steffney’s son had been Tasered, sprayed with CS gas and severely beaten for being black while in a public phone-box. Steffney made a call for a community response and people gathered to support her son’s appearance at a South London police station, as he faced charges. Eventually he was acquitted of all charges against him.

Her son’s case was a familiar one, predominately young black men being harassed, assaulted, even killed by police officers. Only for the victim of police brutality to be charged as if they were the aggressor.

We are interested in criminal justice because it directly affects us, black people are disproportionately represented at every level. This is inseparable from structural racism in housing, health, employment, education and more. Today we live in a society in which black people are the most likely to be expelled from school, become unemployed, stop and searched, Tasered, stripped-searched by police, prison staff and airport immigration, convicted and receive the harshest sentences including imprisonment.

We deem these outcomes not just as class oppression but also as white British supremacist, where white British people are at the top of a social hierarchy and the black is at the bottom. The governing structures that produce these outcomes are founded upon racialised laws and enforcement, exemplified particularly by drug laws. By racialised, we mean that power is constructed in a way that makes black life and particularly black Muslim life at the moment, targeted as suspect. It is not hoodies, nor the music that we create that criminalises us, to be black is to be regarded criminal by default.

We are for reform in the short-term and radical change in the long term, but if we eliminated these racial biases in the system, we would still be campaigning. We do not seek an equality of violence within the criminal justice system. We want to end the violence that it creates and perpetuates.

ACQUITTED: Falsely Accused Black Woman found not guilty of assaulting a PC

On Monday, a few LCAPSV supporters went to Stratford Magistrates Court to support, “K”, a young professional black woman who was falsely accused of assaulting a police officer who was questioning her about a road traffic incident that she was involved in.

The evidence against K was flimsy and we believe the charge by the officer to be a malicious prosecution which may have been racially motivated.

K is very relieved and grateful for all the support LCAPSV has provided and is considering her legal options.

If you know anyone who has may have been maliciously prosecuted or victimised by the police then please get in touch.

Metropolitan Police not racist (says Metropolitan Police)

The Guardian today published an article indicating that between April 2014 and March 2015 the Metropolitan Police faced 245 complaints of racial discrimination, and found no case to answer for any of them. This means that in none of those cases did the investigating officer think that his/her accused colleague had acted in an inappropriate manner. Even in the case of the three officers from Greenwich, and the two from Lewisham, who had four complaints of racial discrimination made against them in a single year alone, no disciplinary action has taken place.

This article was based on an investigation carried out by the London Campaign Against Police and State Violence. We were appalled – but not surprised – by this data, and do not expect anybody else to be. We knew what we would find before we even started. This is because, under the current system of police oversight, local forces are allowed – indeed expected – to investigate themselves. In the few cases where the IPCC are involved in the investigation, they generally play a hand’s-off role, supervising or managing local investigations, rather than undertaking them themselves. In any case, we know we can expect little from the IPCC when they are overwhelmingly staffed with former police officers. This is not a situation that can ever lead to justice or transparency.

Not mentioned in the Guardian article are the results of complaints about other forms of discrimination: based on religion, gender, sexuality, mental health, age, disability. Though the dataset is more limited (fewer people made complaints according to these categories), the outcome of these complaints makes for equally bleak reading. In one sole instance across all these categories has any officer been found to have a case to answer (mental health, Kensington and Chelsea). And even in this single case, the Metropolitan Police admit that no action was taken against the officer in question.

We think that the Metropolitan Police now have urgent and unavoidable questions to answer about the integrity and purpose of their complaints process. Given the likelihood of action being taken in response to complaints of discrimination is next to nothing, who is the complaints system serving? Given we don’t allow criminals to investigate themselves for crimes of which they are accused, why should we allow police to investigate themselves? Given even senior officers in the force admit the police as a whole is institutionally racist, how are they possibly best qualified to judge themselves on this question? Why, then, do we continue allow the police to investigate themselves? It is time that we take the powers of investigation out of their hands, and put it back in the hands of the communities that are most effected by the rotten system of more or less explicit racism, violence, and state endorsed coercion that the police preside over.

You can find the full data and breakdown here:

Discrimination Complaints Mar14-Feb15

Black History Month Event: Remembering Cherry Groce & Cynthia Jarrett – 30 Years On

Date: Saturday 3rd October
Time: 5:30pm – 9pm
Venue: We are 336, 336 Brixton Road, Brixton, SW9 7AA
Cost: FREE
Registration Website: EventBrite

Video of Cherry Groce’s son talking about the police wrongful shooting:
http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1

Join the family of Dorothy “Cherry” Groce, for the 30th commemoration of her wrongful shooting by the Metropolitan Police which led to the infamous 1985 Brixton uprisings. We will also reflect on the police violence that led to Cynthia Jarrett’s death and the Broadwater Farm uprisings a week after Cherry Groce’s shooting.

What happened in 1985? Why did the Police shoot an innocent mother in front of her children, youngest being 8 years old? How did the community defend and rebuild itself after the uprisings?

Come and participate in this commemorative event that will discuss the past, present and future of communities fighting for justice and peace in Brixton and Tottenham.

This will also be the launch of a new justice campaign for the family of Cherry Groce and also form the start of an oral history project which is open to young people aged between 14 and 25 years old. Contact LCAPSV for more details.

Speakers and performers include:

  • Linton Kwesi Johnson – Poet
  • Akala – Rapper & Poet
  • Stafford Scott – Tottenham Rights campaigner
  • Devon Thompson – Community Leader
  • Lara Lee – Poet
  • Lorna G – Singer
  • Lee Lawrence – Son of Cherry Groce & founder of Cherry Groce Foundation

Discussions chaired by: Kwaku, Reni Eddo-Lodge and Kojo

This is a free event light snacks will also be provided.

To attend this event you must register as spaces are limited

Upcoming Events: Brixton Splash Cop Watch & Summer Social

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BRIXTON SPLASH COP WATCH – Sunday 2nd August – All Day

Facebook event

Brixton Splash is a free street party held every year in Brixton with music food and market stalls.  Around 20,000 people are expected to attend and unfortunately where working class people go (especially black working class people), the police will follow. Every year we witness police harassing young people from the local community as part of deliberate campaigns of aggression and intimidation.

London Campaign Against Police & State Violence are organising a Cop Watch (Community Monitoring of the Metropolitan Police) at Brixton Splash, this Sunday.
If you would like to get involved and learn how to monitor the police, then please e-mail lcapsv@gmail.com

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LCAPSV, Housing Action Southwark & Lambeth and Football Beyond Borders Summer Social – Sunday 9th August, 2pm – 7pm

Facebook Event

As part of our Lunch Club, we are once again working with Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth and now also with Football Beyond Borders to host our Summer Social.

This time we are in Brixton for a bigger event – as always free food and fun but also now with an additional BBQ and a football tournament to celebrate our collective efforts and successes so far.

All are welcome to play, laugh, eat and drink with us in a family friendly atmosphere

Our Briefing Paper and Objections to Operation Shield in Lambeth

Operation Shield is a pilot programme organised by MOPAC (the Mayor of London’s Office for Policing and Crime), together with the Metropolitan Police and local councils. It is professed aim is to target people identified as gang members, and is being tested first of all in Westminster, Haringey and Lambeth. In an article on Shield in the Evening Standard the Mayor’s spokesman stated that when one alleged gang member commits a crime, all supposed members could be issued with a court order to stop them socialising with certain people, face penalty fines, could even be sent to prison or evicted from their homes. More information about Operation Shield is available here.

The London Campaign against Police & State Violence (LCAPSV) believe it is wrong that Operation Shield includes the use of collective punishment, that is to punish others for the actions of another person, which goes against the most basic principles of justice. We have undertaken research and Freedom of Information requests to find out the detail of Shield and have now produced a briefing document (download LCAPSV Shield Submission PDF) outlining our concerns. This week, we wrote to Lambeth Council (the lead council on the pilot), MOPAC, the Chair of the Greater London Authority Police and Crime Committee and the Metropolitan Police Service in Lambeth with our briefing paper. Our core concerns are listed here and explained in further detail below:

  1. Collective punishment especially for families in social housing  – Shield can result in families paying fines or being evicted because a family member has been accused of crimes or associating with an alleged offender.
  2. Racist targeting and outcomes – The criteria used to identify “gangs” are racially biased.
  3. Miscarriages of Justice – Shield promises “fast track” justice, which will risk unfair trials and stigmatise defendants.

LCAPSV concerns on collective punishment aspect of Shield

As Shield includes non-criminal sanctions such as eviction from housing, entire families will be at risk of being punished for crimes with which they had no involvement. For example, a young person targeted by Shield might be registered at a family address where he does not currently live. His family may be threatened with eviction if that home is rented through the council, or with the loss of Housing Benefit. This is especially unfair given Shield’s use of collective punishment. Not only might that young person’s family find their home threatened, it might be over something that their family member was not even personally involved in. It is wrong to punish criminal activity with homelessness, and it is especially wrong to punish people who are not even directly involved.

LCAPSV concerns on the risks of racist targeting of Black people and racialised usage of “gang”

We also have serious doubts about the criteria Shield uses to identify “gangs” or “gang members.” There is a wide range of academic research that shows that the label of “gang member” is disproportionately applied to young black men, in a way that suggests that the institutional racism of the police operates in this area, as well as in Stop and Search. For example, the London population as a whole is around 13% black and 60% white, yet figures show that 78.2% of the people on the Metropolitan police’s list of gang members (Gang Matrix) are black, 8.7% are from other ethnic minority groups, and only 12.8% are listed as white. We believe the Metropolitan Police Service “Gang Matrix” data is highly dubious and racially biased. We are not alone in thinking this as a senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, Patrick Williams has argued that “There is a dearth of reliable academic or criminal justice evidence to support the way that the police and media use the label of ‘gang’”. Given the racialised way in which the label of gang member is used, we believe the reliance on racially biased data can only produce racist outcomes resulting in disproportionately negative consequences for black people in Lambeth, especially young black men.

LCAPSV concerns on the risks of producing miscarriages of justice

In the atmosphere of moral panic that surrounds the way that gangs are described, not just in the media but also by politicians and senior police officers, there is an obvious danger of immediate stigmatisation attaching itself to anybody given the label of gang member. The MOPAC press statement on Shield says that gang-related crimes will be “fast-tracked” through the courts. In  these circumstances, we doubt that alleged gang members will be given a fair hearing. They will instead be tried by a system that already assumes them to be guilty. This concern is doubly important given our doubts about the way that supposed gang members are identified, mentioned above.

Download link to LCAPSV Briefing Paper

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Our comment in The Independent on Metropolitan & West Midlands Police racialised brutality

IndySaturday

On Saturday 2nd May, The Independent newspaper ran a front page article on police brutality and asked us for a comment. An edited version of our comment below was published in the paper edition but not available online. We reproduce our full comment here:

We are not surprised to learn from these official statistics that Black and minority ethnic people are hugely over represented as victims in cases of police brutality in London. Black and minority ethnic Londoners are the victims in 55% of cases, despite making up only 32% of the population. This is not a mere margin of statistical error: these figures are not an accident. Why are the police singling us out for violence? These figures demonstrate, once again, that the Metropolitan Police is institutionally racist. This judgement is confirmed by the daily experience of our members.

Black people are six times more likely than their white counterparts to be stopped and searched, while Asian people are twice as likely. Now it has been shown that we are more likely to suffer violence at the hands of the police too. We also note that the figures are even worse in the West Midlands, demonstrating that the problem of racist, violent police goes beyond the capital. Finally, these figures represent only those cases where victims complaints are currently being investigated.

Many black and ethnic minority people do not have confidence in the complaint system, this is not surprising when last year, a Channel 4 Dispatches investigation showed that less than 1% of complaints regarding racism were upheld. The complaints system is often regarded farcical as the police are essentially able to investigate themselves and almost always dismiss complaints out of hand. For this reason many victims of police violence do not lodge a complaint because they believe it will make no difference.

Savage cuts to legal aid and a debasement of judicial review have made the police even less accountable for their actions than ever before. These figures are the tip of an unsurprising iceberg and come not long after HM Inspectorate of Policing again highlighted the systematic abuse of stop and search powers.  In response, Dame Anne Owers (Chair of the IPCC) and the political establishment will doubtless trot out the same old platitudes about how concerning these figures but barely before we’ve heard them it will be business as usual. We challenge them to prove us wrong.<

END

On Tuesday 5th May, we will protest outside the US Embassy against police brutality in the UK and also in the US. We are calling it: From Bedford to Baltimore, to highlight the case of Julian Cole, a young man who was paralysed and permanently brain damaged after being arrested by Bedfordshire Police. We also stand with the loved ones of Freddie Gray, Mya Hall and also with Mumia Abu Jamal. Join us as we organise against police and state violence both at home and abroad. Black Lives Matter.