Support a Black Woman Falsely Accused of Assaulting a PC

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Date: Monday 12th October
Time: 1pm
Venue: Stratford Magistrates’ Court, 389-397 High St, London E15 4SB
Facebook event

“I was ashamed and treated like a criminal when I did not commit a crime.” – K

“K”, a young black woman and student, was a passenger in a road traffic accident with a friend a few months ago. When police officers arrived at the scene, “K” says “they treated us like criminals instead of following proper protocol.”

K continued:

“I was very on edge as I felt they had made assumptions based on our race and didn’t even take anything into consideration. I chose to keep my distance from the officers to avoid confrontation. Before I knew it one officer had crept towards me and tried to step into my personal space, as he did so I stepped backward raising my arm to separate him from me but without making physical contact. Within seconds the officer claimed I had to push him and later stated I had done so in his chest with both arms though this was impossible because I had my mobile phone in my hand.”

This accusation by the police officer resulted in “K” being arrested and charged with assault of Police Constable.

We believe “K” has a strong case and supporting evidence to support her story against the officer and that it is highly probable that the officer’s actions were malicious. If found guilty, “K” will face a fine, a criminal record endangering her career and future prospects and a possible prison sentence.

In our experience, the police do this a lot to young and particularly black people. A false claim against of police assault can be made against anyone who the police officer happens not to like.

Please support “K” by sharing this story and if possible attending her support rally at Stratford Magistrates’ Court on Monday 12th October at 1pm. For more details, contact us via e-mail: LCAPSV (at) GMAIL (dot) COM

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

New concerns on the Tilson Gardens Police Shooting

Since our last update on the incident on the 21st August, when the police shot a Brixton resident, there have been further reports in The Guardian (here) and Daily Mirror (here). Both papers named the victim as Nathaniel Brophy, a 34 year old mixed race man, and quoted remarks from his father Patrice Duval.

These reports raise new concerns

The victim was surrendering

The police and IPCC had previously emphasised the claim that they found a “non police firearm” at the site, and used this to imply that Mr Brophy was threatening them, and had to be shot to prevent him doing harm. In fact, according to his family, this “firearm” was an air rifle, and Brophy was not holding it at the time he was shot. “My son did not have a gun. He said he had his hands up,” Mr Duval told the Guardian.

The victim was shot in the back

According to the Guardian, police fired four shots at Mr Brophy, three of which hit him. The Mirror specified that these hit him in the leg, the stomach and the back.

Why were the police there in the first place?

Both reports confirm that Mr Brophy had previously been evicted, and had re-entered his flat with his old keys to collect some of his things. Just as we wrote in our last statement, this account suggests that he was not committing a crime. It’s therefore impossible to see why police came to the flat in the first place. The police should have had a reason for going to the flat, but they haven’t said what it was.

The role of the IPCC

The Guardian reports that the IPCC supervised officers writing up their statements, which they did together in the same room, to make sure that they did not confer with each other, unlike in previous incidents where the police have shot somebody. But, unless the officers involved were supervised immediately after the shooting and kept apart until the moment when they sat down to write, they could still have conferred. Given that the IPCC told a public meeting the week after the shooting that they arrived on the scene “within 3 hours”, that still allows plenty of time for the police to confer. The IPCC should release a detailed timeline of events immediately.

The video footage

Some of the officers were wearing cams. There is also CCTV footage that the IPCC have. This must be released. What are they hiding?

Our Update on the Metropolitan Police Shooting at Tilson Gardens, Lambeth

Two weeks ago, on Friday 21st August, armed officers from the Metropolitan Police’s SO19 unit shot a man at Tilson House, part of the Clapham Park Estate in Lambeth. The man, who has not been named, is in hospital in a stable condition. We hope for his full and speedy recovery. We also hope that he and his family get all the support they need during this time, to ensure the truth of what happened comes out.

This shooting took place 10 years after the killing of Azelle Rodney in Mill Hill, and the killing of Jean Charles De Menezes in Stockwell. It has been 4 years after the killing of Mark Duggan in Tottenham, and 2 years since the non-fatal shooting of an Ghanaian-British man in Forest Hill, South London. In all cases there was not a clear threat to anyone’s life, this statement shows once again that the need for lethal force is grossly ambiguous and unclear.

Our two core concerns are:

The IPCC is delaying the release of the body camera video of officers involved in the shooting.

This needs to be made available now. There has been no clear reason for the shooting. The police have given no justification for why potentially lethal force was used.

So far the only information available to us comes from short statements from the police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), and remarks made at a public meeting last week which LCAPSV members attended. As well as the police and the IPCC, this meeting was also addressed by a representative of the housing association Metropolitan Housing, which is the landlord of the estate – and therefore of the victim, who lived on the estate. We are also grateful to Black Dissidents who also shared with us information that they have gathered.

Previous experience shows that the police cannot be trusted in to provide accurate information especially in relation to incidents of this kind. Similiarly prior experience also shows that the IPCC is not willing to properly challenge the police. Journalists have highlighted its tendency to simply rehash the narratives of the police, and campaigners have called for it to be scrapped. This Freedom of Information request from 2013 shows that the IPCC Director of Investigations, and seven out of eight Senior Investigators, are all former police officers. The “Independent” Police Complaints Commission is the police investigating themselves under another name.

We outline here the statements that we have gained from public meetings and briefing documents released by the Met. We do not automatically accept the detail below to be accurate or a fair representation of events for reasons stated above. We also detail the questions that we are still pursuing for answers.

The Landlord’s Public Statements on the Shooting

According to Metropolitan Housing, the victim lived in a flat in Tilson House. For some reason which they did not reveal, they decided to evict him from his home. They got a court order to do this, and evicted him with bailiffs some time before the day of the shooting. It is believed that because he had nowhere else to go, he went back in to his home after he had been evicted. Metropolitan Housing claims they don’t know how he got back in to his home.

When Metropolitan Housing received information that he was back inside his home, their staff members came round to the flat on the 21st August, accompanied by ordinary, unarmed police officers. Although it was reported in initial police statements that this visit was supposed to be an “eviction”, the Metropolitan Housing representative told last week’s public meeting that it was not an eviction as the eviction had happened previously.

Our Questions to the Landlord Metropolitan Housing

1) We know that the visit on the 21st August was not an eviction under LASPO Act 2012, as Section 144 Clause 2, as it states that a former resident occupying the residence has not committed a criminal squatting offence. So why did the Police accompany your housing officer and on what criminal grounds?

2) If Metropolitan Housing knew the man had nowhere else to go, did the Housing Association referred him to Lambeth Council, given that they were making him homeless?

The Metropolitan Police & IPCC Sanctioned Account of the Shooting

The initial police statement said that the man “emerged from a room” and the police had to withdraw and call armed police for back up. Why would ’emerging from a room’ constitute a threat that required armed police? According to the IPCC representatives, “a [hand]gun was sighted.” It was this gun, allegedly, which caused the unarmed police retreat and call the armed police.

After what the IPCC called a “seige situation” lasting around seven hours, the man was shot outside the flat, and seriously injured. The police and IPCC say that they found a “non-police firearm” after the shooting.

Our Questions to The Metropolitan Police & The IPCC

3) Scotland Yard told the press that this happened during a “pre-planned eviction”. The landlord said this was not the case. So if it wasn’t pre-planned what criminal law was the basis of the initial police visit?

4) Did the man threaten to use the gun? Where was this alleged “gun” sighted in the flat and where was it in relation to the former resident?

5) One local resident whose garden backs on to Tilson House told the public meeting that he heard 3 shots fired. Were all those shots fired by police officers?

6) The IPCC have stated that some of the police involved were wearing bodycams. This footage must be made public. When will the IPCC release the footage from these cameras?

Media Coverage and Myths

Once again there were media reports implying that there was a threat to life which was later unconfirmed but left open to linger as a possibility. Calling the stand-off a “siege” implies there was threat to life, but the IPCC would not confirm that the non-issued gun was on the suspect’s person or near the suspect at the time of the shooting.

The media claim that the man shot had “broken into the flat” and was being “evicted” is false. We now believe from information gathered via Black Dissidents that the person was a former tenant and entered the flat using the keys that they had since being a tenant. Neither was he being evicted which has now been confirmed by Metropolitan Housing.

Our Conclusion

We cannot accept London residents being shot by the Metropolitan Police for “refusing to be evicted”. The family and the public need answers. In the search for that, we will campaign and take to the streets if necessary, because without justice there can be no peace.

London Campaign Against Police & State Violence

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

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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

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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.<

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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.

From Bedford to Baltimore – #BlackLivesMatter Solidarity Vigil – Tuesday 5th May

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Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/816469358430934/

Location: US Embassy, 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 2LQ
Date: Tuesday 5th May at 6pm

London Campaign Against Police and State Violence are calling for a solidarity vigil to stand with the family and friends of victims of police violence in Baltimore: Freddie Gray, Mya Hall and also victims of police brutality in the UK. We support the Fer

SUPPORTED BY: United Families & Friends Campaign (UFFC), Defend the Right to Protest, nus black students’ campaign and Cole Family Truth Campaign

FREDDIE GRAY:

In Baltimore, the death of Freddie Gray has been at the centre of recent protests against police brutality. The 25-year-old African-American was taken into police custody after allegedly making eye contact with a police officer and then running away. He was dragged into a police van and left with a crushed voice box, and with 80% of his spine severed at the neck. The police are yet to give any explanation for his death. In response, the black community of Baltimore has risen up to demand justice and have closed down their city with almost a week of protests. Read more at Baltimore United

MYA HALL:

Mya Hall, an African-American trans woman and sex worker also from Baltimore, was shot and killed by National Security Agency officers after the car she was in was involved in a collision. Transgender people face even worse treatment by the authorities once it is discovered that they are transgender. The police and many sections of the press refused to acknowledge her gender identity and misgendered her in their reporting of her death. While there have been frequent marches and demonstrations for Black men killed in police custody, little is done for women, especially trans women, who are victims of police brutality. We cannot forget the plight of Mya and other Black transgender women and sex workers. All Black lives matter.

JULIAN COLE:

As we gather to mourn their deaths and show solidarity with those demanding accountability, we also remember and show solidarity with UK victims of police brutality. Julian Cole, a 21 year old British African-Caribbean man, was arrested by six police officers outside a nightclub in Bedford, England on 6th May 2013. While he was in police custody, his neck was broken, his spinal cord was severed and he became permanently brain damaged. It is now almost exactly two years since the original incident and yet the police officers responsible are still in active service and no charges have been brought against any of them. We stand with the Cole family to demand justice.

MUMIA ABU JAMAL:

We also organise against the structural violence of the prison system. Mumia Abu-Jamal is an internationally recognised Black writer and radio journalist, and former member of the Black Panther Party who has spent the last 30 years in prison, almost all of it in solitary confinement on Pennsylvania’s Death Row. We believe that he is wrongly convicted and now he is hospitalised and the authorities are preventing his loved ones from contacting him. We stand with all who say FREE MUMIA ABU JAMAL.

Across countries, police and state violence is racialised, disproportionate and destructive towards Black communities. Time and again we see Black people suffer at the hands of a racist state. On a daily basis, innocent people are stopped and searched. Neighbourhoods have been left to waste away in destitution and then “regenerated” to price and push poor Black families out. The police are able to terrorise and kill with impunity. The only way that we’ll stop this cycle of violence is to organise as a community and fight back. This has happened in Ferguson and it’s happening right now in Baltimore. Baltimore Uprising is a community-led initiative which is organising the community in light of the recent killing of Freddie Gray to demand justice. Along with daily demonstrations, they are providing artistic outlets for children, organising safe havens in religious spaces and providing lunch for school children on days that schools are closed. Similar initiatives are also taking place here in the UK, with groups like R Movement and Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth organising food distribution for the homeless and community supper clubs. LCAPSV will work with these groups and others to organise against pervasive state violence.

Martin Luther King once said that “riots are the language of the unheard”. While police officers break necks with impunity, we will not be overly concerned with broken windows. When we say “No Justice, No Peace”, this channels lesser known Martin Luther King quote: “True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”

From Bedford to Baltimore, UK to US – BLACK LIVES MATTER – NO JUSTICE NO PEACE

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Joint Statement on International Day Against Police Brutality

Today, we reproduce here a joint statement by the organisers of the Ferguson Solidarity Tour. Full signatories are here.

 The excesses of policing have come under more scrutiny since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson and we feel that today, International Day Against Police Brutality, is an important time to speak out against the injustices of policing.

The advising charity Inquest has recorded 1507 “deaths following contact with police” in England and Wales since 1990. Each time someone dies after contact with the police the grief and mourning of their family and friends is put on hold indefinitely. Instead they are forced to become campaigners seeking justice for their loved ones and themselves.

What these family campaigners want more than anything else is the truth about what happened to those killed. Many would agree that police should not investigate the circumstances of the killing themselves, yet the Independent Police Complaints Commission is populated by a significant number of ex-police officers; a clear conflict of interest.

For a reliable account of the circumstances surrounding a death the coronial inquest system is often relied upon, yet there is no guarantee that families who have suffered a loss will receive the legal aid often necessary to hire a barrister that represents their interests in these proceedings. In the majority of cases unlawful killing verdicts returned by juries have not lead to prosecutions against police.

We demand that the families of all those who die at the hands of the state automatically be afforded legal aid to help in their pursuit of the truth. Where inquests find an unlawful killing a CPS prosecution should follow as a matter of course.

Police brutality is by no means restricted to those instances where people die in custody. Stop and search monitors StopWatch place Black people in London as almost three times more likely to be subject to stop and search. A recent HMIC report has found that African-Caribbean people are also disproportionately subjected to strip searches, accounting for 17% of the total. With such drastic disparity and discrimination this amounts to a routine and violent incursion into many people’s everyday lives.

There is also a direct continuum between this kind of everyday police brutality and the deaths that have received more attention of late. The death of Habib Paps Ullah, who died during the course of a stop and search, highlights the potentially lethal results.

There are still worrying numbers of people pursuing justice from the state due to police brutality of many forms. Today is a day for remembering and protesting these brutalities.

Join StopWatch’s Stop & Search Discussion at Parliament

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Diane Abbott MP

 

Event: Stop and Search – Impact on the Community and Prospects for Reform
Date: Tuesday 17th March
Time: 5:30pm for 6pm start
Free Ticket Registration Link
Facebook Event Link

The London Campaign against Police & State Violence are teaming up with the Stop & Search charity, StopWatch, to host a panel discussion on Stop & Search with MPs and ordinary Londoners affected by Stop & Search.

This meeting will be hosted by Diane Abbott MP and is open to anyone and everyone interested or affected by the use of Stop & Search in London, to attend you must register by Monday 16th March here.

Below is a video of a previous event organised by StopWatch which debated if Stop & Search does more harm than good: