Habib ‘Paps’ Ullah died on Thursday 3rd July 2008 after being thrown to the ground during a stop and search by police officers in a car park in High Wycombe. He was 39 years old and leaves behind a young family.
Justice4Paps have fought for nearly seven years to ensure answers and justice through an inquest. An initial inquest in 2010 was stopped part way through at the request of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, after officers said that they had changed their accounts of the night based on legal advice.
Since Habib’s death in 2008 there have been two other deaths in custody in High Wycombe and Slough of African-Caribbean men. In the last 18 months there have been five Muslim deaths in custody in the UK and as campaigners Justice4Paps have been active in supporting those families and other victims of police harassment and brutality. If you are able, please consider making a donation to Justice4Paps to enable them to continue their essential work.
In August 2011 Britain was on fire – what was the spark that led to the crisis? When Mark Duggan was shot by the police the scene was set for a confrontation but it was not the first time. In this grass-roots documentary we hear why Tottenham burned, show how the flames spread and look at the deep-rooted reasons that have set fires blazing in the last four decades. Four people in this small community, all black and working class, have died at the hands of the police and this film retraces their story. Powerful witness testimonies are balanced against police reaction to the violence that exploded and the film offers a fresh political analysis of the cause of the uprising. Exploring ideas of collective memory ‘Burn’ is poetry for the people.
This event will feature a screening of the new documentary film by Migrant Media, followed by a Q&A with Marcia Rigg (Sister of Sean Rigg), Minkah Adofo (United Families & Friends Campaign) and Director Ken Fero.
March with us in solidarity for an end to deaths in custody.
There have been over 3000 deaths in state custody since 1969. There has not been a single successful homicide prosecution, despite evidence of unreasonable force and several unlawful killing inquest verdicts.
Join United Families and Friends Campaign on Saturday 25 October 2014 for their annual rally, protest march and petition submission to 10 Downing Street. Assemble for the rally at 12pm in Trafalgar Square. Please wear black. London Campaign Against Police & State Violence will be there with banners.
Marcia Rigg of the Sean Rigg Justice Campaign will now be speaking at our conference. This means we will no longer be screening Burn but instead a section of Who Polices the Police which is about her family’s story. People who want to see Burn can come on Friday 17th October to our film screening of Burn with United Families and Friends Campaign at Birkbeck University. More details on Facebook.
London Campaign Against Police and State Violence will be holding our annual conference on the theme of ‘The Right to Life Under Threat by the State’. Everyone is welcome, and admission is free (but donations are welcome).
The full programme will be published shortly. The conference will feature:
D, a black man assaulted by police in Brixton in June this year, appeared in court for a case management hearing on Tuesday 2 September. His supporters and members of LCAPSV maintained a presence in the public gallery and outside the court throughout the proceedings. D’s case has been scheduled for 5 January, and we will be there to stand in solidarity with him as he faces charges of obstruction of a police officer.
On Monday 23rd June 2014, D, a black man from Brixton, was assaulted by police officers from the Territorial Support Group. The officers had seen D stop his car moments earlier to speak to his Uncle, and chose to interpret this chance family encounter as something sinister. In the course of a “search” they attacked D and his cousin, a passenger in the car, kicking D multiple times when he had already voluntarily gone to the floor and put his hands out to be cuffed. D was arrested, strip searched, and held in Brixton police station for almost 24 hours. The police attack left him with bruises and a cracked rib. (More details here)
When the police were unable to find anything illegal on D that could possibly justify the search, let alone their violent attack, they charged him with assault on a police officer. This has now been reduced to “obstructing a constable during a drug search,” a lesser charge but one which still carries a possible unlimited fine and 2 years of imprisonment.
D would greatly appreciate your support at his next case management hearing, at Inner London Crown Court on 2nd September at 9.30am. We will meet outside the court with banners, and will be present in the public gallery during the hearing. We must let the police and Crown Prosecution Service know that we are watching them in D’s case, and in every other instance of police brutality in London!
On the 14 August, LCAPSV attended City of London Magistrates court to support A, a member of the campaign, at her latest court hearing for the charge of ‘willful obstruction of the highway’. This charge dates from January of this year, when A was arrested while peacefully protesting outside Downing Street and imprisoned for four days.
A was expecting to be formally tried at this hearing, the previous hearing on the 31 July having been adjourned due to the Crown Prosecution Service’s failure to disclose the necessary evidence to A’s legal team. However, once again, the CPS had failed to comply with the court’s directions and disclosed crucial evidence only once the trial had begun, leaving A and her legal team no time to examine the evidence before the proceedings began. Furthermore, when the CPS eventually handed over the relevant CCTV evidence – some 35 minutes into the hearing – it emerged that an important twenty minutes of footage were missing, for which the responsible police officer had no adequate explanation. As such, the case was adjourned until the 9th December. This means that A’s case will drag on for 11 months. This stretching out of the legal proceedings constitutes a brutal form of punishment in and of itself, as the mental and physical strain such a process puts on people is immense.
In spite of all of this, A is resolute and remains determined to fight against her racist criminalisation. LCAPSV will continue to support A in every way we can and will be in court supporting her on the 9th December. More details will follow closer to the time.
On 6 August, we stood in solidarity with the family members of Sean Rigg, Habib Ullah, Leon Patterson and many others as they called on the Crown Prosecution Service to deliver justice. The United Families and Friends campaign is a coalition of those affected by deaths in police, prison and psychiatric custody. UFFC said:
The Crown Prosecution Service is charged with inaction. Last week charges were brought against the officer who shot dead Azelle Rodney in 2005. Why did his mother, Susan Alexander, have to wait nine years for that officer to be charged?
Many other families whose loved ones died in custody, are still waiting for the CPS to make a decision. The standard response in recent years has been ‘ not enough evidence to prosecute’ – but this is not good enough.
Crown Prosecution Service – charge the killers now!
You can see pictures from the picket by clicking the Storify link below:
Serious concerns are emerging about the “botched and violent” police counter-terrorist stop and subsequent arrest of a Black man in Greenwich, just over a week after the death of Drummer Lee Rigby. After Counter Terrorism police performed a ‘hard stop'(1) on the car Husani Williams’ was driving, he was arrested for possession of a Class A drug. Williams submitted a defence statement in which he denied the cocaine possession charge and the CPS took the decision this week to drop that charge. The London Campaign against Police and State Violence (2) (LCAPSV) are now demanding that SO15 (3), the Metropolitan Police Service Counter-Terrorism Command, and SO19 (4), MPS’ Specialist Firearms Command should face an independent inquiry into their “brutal and unnecessary” use of force.
On 1st June 2013, Williams was driving through Greenwich near the Woolwich Flyover. In the car with him were his brother, Asanti, and two female friends. At around 6pm, the car was brought to a ‘hard stop’ by armed officers in unmarked cars. The officers shot out the tyres, smashed the car side-windows, and proceeded to thrust their weapons into the faces of the Williams brothers. They then dragged him and the three passengers out of the car. Officers used Tasers and ‘pain compliance’ techniques on the men, who did not resist at any point. During the arrest officers accused the brothers of being terrorists, and are accused of having repeatedly racially abused them. At the time the arrest was reported in local newspapers (5).
Due to the severity of the injuries to his head, Asanti was taken to hospital on the insistence of Paramedics and no charges were made against him. The police explained that the car was targeted because it was linked with an address associated with the Lee Rigby murder. The address in question was that of Mr Williams’ cousin, a Black Muslim, who has not been approached by police to date.
Husani was charged with possession of a Class A drug, but crucially, despite the nature of the stop, was not charged with any offence relating to terrorism. A court hearing which took place in October put the trial back on a “warned list” (6) until April for unspecified reasons. In November, Husani pleaded not guilty. At a hearing at Woolwich Crown Court on 8th January, the Prosecution formally offered no evidence in respect of this charge.
A complaint about the way the Williams’ brothers were treated is currently being investigated and they are also currently preparing to pursue a civil case against the Metropolitan Police.
Kojo Kyerewaa, a member of LCAPSV said:
“This was an outrageous set of events. From the brutal and unnecessary aggression during the police operation and the dubious “intelligence” which led to it, to the shambolic handling of the court case. This raises serious questions about the professionalism and integrity of these institutions of law enforcement.
The Williams’ brothers ordeal happened one week after Lee Rigby’s murder, and all evidence points to the fact that this botched and violent assault was based on tenuous intelligence if not mere speculation with extreme racist abuse. It looks very much like a racist assault by the Police, which could have resulted in the death of an innocent man.”
Husani Williams said:
“The decision to drop the charge against me was a great relief. This entire criminal process has been a time of incredible stress and trauma on me and my family. I’m grateful for the support I’ve received so far and I’ll continue to demand answers and fight for justice.”
(1) A manoeuvre also used by armed police in the deaths of Azelle Rodney and Mark Duggan.
On 1 June 2013, a group of friends driving through Woolwich in the early evening were intercepted by police officers apparently from the Met’s Counter Terrorism command, SO15. According to youth worker Husani Williams, who was driving the car, the officers shot out the tyres, smashed its windows and dragged him and his brother Asanti out of the car. Officers used tasers and ‘pain compliance’ techniques on the men, who say they did not resist.
Police told the two other passengers that the car had been targeted because it had come from an address associated with the Lee Rigby murder. The address in question was that of Mr Williams’ cousin, a black Muslim, who has not been approached by police to date.
Speaking to IRR News, Husani Williams stated: ‘I was in shock. The officers did not identify themselves, they just dragged me out of the car and held me down. At one point I asked them why they were doing this. They said, “We’ve got you down as Mr. Nasty, and this is what we do to Mr. Nasty”.’
One of the brothers, Asanti Williams, was taken straight to hospital as a result of the injuries sustained in the stop by police.
The arrest resulted in no charges relating to terrorism – the group were not even questioned about terrorism.
Husani has been charged with minor drugs offences. It seems likely his trial will not take place until spring next year. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the incident, but has said that its investigation will only get under way once criminal proceedings against Husani have finished.
Husani is being supported by the London Campaign Against Police and State Violence (LCAPSV). So far, the group has attended court in solidarity with Husani, and has helped to collect evidence from witnesses. LCAPSV supports the victims of police assault, and monitors the policing of communities, and of BME communities in particular.