Tuesday, 8 August 2017

How the police are 'policing' the Internet and shutting down black critics of institutionalised police racism, racial profiling and police brutality. My story....


 
Over the last two weeks, I've been tweeting questions around the arrest and subsequent death of Mr. Rashan Charles, a 20-year-old black who died after being violently restrained by a Territorial Support Group officer (TSG also sometimes referred to in the job as the Thick and Stupid Group) in Dalston, London.

There are several concerning aspects to this case, and its generated huge public concern across London, particular among London's black and ethnic minority communities.

Expressing concern and challenging the IPCC to ensure the fullest and frankest disclosure, a complaint echoed by the family, I thought it was absolutely vital, that there was no delay, in providing detailed information as to the precise circumstances surrounding Mr. Charles arrest. Some 17 days later, we still do not know what the officers account tells us about the tragic death of Mr Charles, the legal basis for his pursuit and restraint, and the rationale for stopping a vehicle, in which Mr Charles was simply a passenger.

With the news that the package, found in Mr Charles throat was not drugs and clear operational policing guidance, that suggests anyone suspected of "swallowing" legal substances, should be treated as a medical emergency, first and formost. Former Black Chief Superintendent Leroy Logan MBE was very clear in his analysis of what was required from officers on the day of Mr Charles's death. Naturally, I took to Twitter to raise issues of public concern and to support the family of Mr Charles, in an effort to get to the truth of what happened.



I've been one of the most active, British black community activists/commentators, online for a number of years.  a former Policing Director of London and a Senior Political Adviser to the former Mayor, and one of the leading advocates for policing reform in relation to antiracist policing practice throughout that time.

And as a result, I'm used to the vitriol of anonymous online trolls, whose entire existence is to provoke, gratuitously insulted and to attack.

They are the attack dogs of the alt-right and will single out, leading black people in public life, for the most vicious racism, sexism you have ever seen. 

People like Diane Abbott MP, Shadow Home Secretary,  young black people such as Cambridge student Jason Osamede Okundaye, and many more are subjected to horrendous online attacks and commentary. Anyone who its felt a threat is targeted for some action by these people. The result is black people who feel "intimidated" to speak out against racism. For me this means speaking out more, not less. As racism in Britain increases, so we must be much more vigilant in opposing its growth. 





As a consequence of raising issues around Mr Charles's, arrest I became a victim of a co-ordinated, high-tech lynching led by one Sgt Harry Trevithick Tangye 13908, a police sergeant in the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary and currently stationed at Exeter Armed Response Unit at Middlemoor, Exeter.

My contention was that the IPCC were lying to the public, that the arrest itself made no sense, had no legal basis and was disproportionately violent, in every respect. The video is clear and most people take an objective view can see no reason why Mr Charles to be subjected to overwhelming brute force. Lots of current and retired police officers were summoned by Sgt Harry Trevithick Tangye to provide backup.

The IPCC claimed that they have all the detailed officer statements and yet failed to inform Londoners as to the most basic of information, why was Mr Charles the subject of police interventions?

It can't be that hard to tell us, which policing powers were relied on to affect this "stop" I believe, that such information should be made available immediately. There can only be two reasons why this information is not published; the first is that the officer concerned has not been subject to a detailed interview where he gives his account

Such a delay, would be totally unacceptable if it were to become public news; secondly the expressed  legal basis for the stop doesn't meet, the requirements of PACE. 

As a result, and after me consistently pointing out these and other salient issues, complaints were organised/generated by this police officer, alleging I had sent abusive tweets, and that I was "inciting" hatred. Many officers called for my arrest, and some even made official complaints to the police, claiming that I was "inciting racial hatred against the police."  This resulted in Twitter placing temporary restrictions on my account, without warning. And whilst mildly annoying, it does point to the extent to which racism on MSN is supported by, and sometimes facilitated by the discriminatory application of Twitter rules. 

Genuine voices of criticism of policing operations, cannot be subject to high-tech media lynchings, as a result of challenging police racism. It is outrageous, that retired and current police officers, were corralled by this Sgt and rallied to drive critics from MSM because they don't like, cannot handle trenchant criticism, of their own institutionalised racist practices. This is London not North Korea. 

One has to wonder how that happens in a democracy, that such political acts of censorship, informed by a policing "canteen culture" can be mobilised to shut down anybody they disagree with.


What I was actually doing, something I've done consistently over 30 years, and that is, pushing the authorities for the truth, and we know as London's black communities, that the use of force by police when arresting black people is routine. Figures produced by the Metropolitan police service, backup that reality, demonstrating that black and minority communities, whilst making up only 14% of London's population, accounted for 36% of all uses of force by the police.

This underpins, and gives credence to the view within black communities that the culture of institutionalized racism, within the police service is at its highest ever level, since the publication of Stephen Lawrence report in 1999. Back then, police, stop and search rates were around one hundred thousand plus a year,  in the capital today the stop and search rate has risen by over 300% . 

In 2013/14, a total of 332,036 recorded stop and accounts where carried out across the force.The police conducted 171,504 stop and searches under PACE Section 1 across the area covered by Metropolitan Police. (Stopwatch)

This was a reduction of 41% from the previous year. However, despite promises made by the former Commissioner Bernard Hogan Howe to reduce racial profiling the graph below shows that in fact, stop and search rates began to rise in November 2016 and are continuing to increase to this day, and with the recent  appointment of new Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, stop and searches and are back on the rise as can be seen from the graph below.









Stop and Search is rising in London. 
As you can see, racial disproportionately continues to rise year-on-year.  Recent reports published in the Telegraph demonstrate that racism within the police service is getting worse, not better.

And as can be seen from this article, discussing this officers police force, Devon and Cornwall constabulary has a bigger problem, than most, when it comes to racist police officers.

Black NFA's are the largest of any ethnic group.








HMIC finding that it only records around 82 per cent of reported offences.  And we have all heard of the terrible race hate attacks which see, Polish, gypsies and travellers and black people in that area, subject to the most horrific racial harassment.

What's also worrying, is the extent to which this officer seems to support racial profiling. As you can see below he asked the on line twitter polling question "Do you think there is a place stereotyping people in society?"  



Clearly this officer is convinced, that racial and ethnic stereotypes are useful perspectives in the policing of modern Britain.

Stereotyping is dangerous especially wheat comes to black people/
You will note that nowhere on the comments, that follow, does the sergeant seek to contest the  dangerous conclusion in anyway. This officer also has active YouTube channel where he posted videos of himself driving a police car at 140 mph, and being forced to issue a statement reassuring the public after many expressed concern and horror. The story was so concerning it was covered by the BBC.  


Even the BBC picked up on this officer publishing this article on the 6th August .









In addition to this, there is this officer’s gun totting persona. He seems to revel in the hype, and portrays himself as a ”John Wayne” kind of cop. When you analyse his MSM feeds, you find am arrogant, narcissistic, "gung ho" officer. Take for example this picture  below on his wordpress blog account.
All action hero, this one. Looks like a Hollywood movie. 
In any event, I intend to step up the forensic analysis of disproportionality within the Metropolitan Police Service. As we head towards Notting Hill Carnival, against the backdrop of Grenfell and the growing number of black deaths in police custody, I would have thought the police are other priorities, than trying to police online criticism.

All though stop and search is reducing, ethnic disproportionally is rising every year. 
This represents a new and dangerous precedent of online racial harassment, that Twitter is, happy to colluded with. These white police officers (and officers targeting me are 99.9% white) and that Titter would be so easily convinced, really doesn't surprise me, because I've long held the view that Twitter doesn't understand racism. It shares the same white privilege perspective that seeks to demonise and isolate those who challenge racism.


In the end, we will have to ensure that the same strategy that they have employed is replicated amongst black community activists, to defend leading black public figures and others who can quickly find themselves the object of such online racial harassment and hatred.


Harry and his mates, defending police racism and targeting black activists
Loving these headlines Harry. Hilarious.



Now even his own are beginning to recognise his "Dirty Harry like persona." 

"Detective Superintendent Darren Rawlings, force development programme manager for efficiency at Hampshire Constabulary, replied to Sgt Tangye, saying: 

"Why show this? Is it really necessary? Very na├»ve tweet. 140mph to a break in progress…"

Oh and by the way Harry, Im also now being contacted by police officers who you've attempted to bully and intimidate in the past. Somebody tweet him let him know he's made my day. 


NB: Twitter restricted my account for seven days. No RT's, no likes, no comments. All I can do is send direct messages, Literally five minutes after this post went up today they stopped me sending DM's 

Postscript...

Still waiting a response from Speedy Harry. 

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Mark Duggan and the Met Police: Lessons not learned.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, textNever forget...He was described as the most dangerous criminal in Europe. They initially said he shot a police. They said he had a gun in his hand. They said, they had reasonable belief so they shot him. The inquest jury said, "it's lawful killing"

We said that white police officers subliminal and sometimes overt racial bias results in officers prejudicial imaginations leading to the designation black people as all being designated as "extremely hostile and dangerous".



This racial designation, born of white anxiety, fear and racial animosity to black people, Muslims and anybody else who is demonised into the police imaginations, is routinely deemed a superhuman threat to law and order and officers in particular.

It's the white lack of imagination, that refuses to allow black humanity its place, that leads to the racial profiling and disproportionate police violence that is now visited on our community.

If you're black and an active criminal, or an ex-offender, then you're fair game for overwhelming and disproportionate policeviolence, as far as the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is concerned. The reality is that tensions between MPS and black communities have never been so great as they are now. Today they are approaching levels last saw, in 1981, 1986, 1996, 2011 and given this current prevailing level of deep and abiding institutional police racism, we can speculate when the next explosion will be.

But given absolute refusal of the MPS to accept that institutionalised racism is now resurgent within the the police service, and having discarded the post Lawrence peace dividend arrived at through the acknowledgement and acceptance of the existence of institutionalised racism, we are now back to the future.

That's the problem with the MPS it's not a learning organisation, it doesn't retain institutionalise and promote good practice. Its forst prioroty is to seek to contain, deny, hide and obscure, crtisism and challenge. There is no problem that I have described above, that the MPS at some point in his history has not tackled with with some degree of success. None.

The problem for the MPS is its incapable of retaining its own good practice and simply relies on committed individuals who bring about periodic change. Once these individuals leave the service, the good practice leaves with them and the the MPS simply returns to its default structural setting of institutionalised racism policing practice.

And if one looks at the racism as a disease, for which radical antiracist antibiotics are needed, then the MPS only ever took one third of its required prescription. As a result infection has returned and bceome much more virulent.

As a result, we are bound to repeat history, there are bound to be many more victims, there are bound to be many more deaths and London will surely see, the fire next time.
#Justice4MarkDuggan #BlackLivesMatter #No JusticeNoPeace 

Friday, 28 July 2017

#Justice4Rashan Family statement. Please share.


Rashan Charles 20 yrs old. 
Thursday 27th July 2017
The Charles family are sad to announce that our beloved Rashan Charles sadly passed away in the early hours of Saturday 22nd July 2017. 
The circumstances of his death are tragic and as a family we are understandably deeply distressed. We would be grateful if you could respect our need for privacy at this difficult time.
We are keen to consult and support organisations, as well as individuals, that have undergone similar experiences and we do appreciate all support we receive in return. 
However, at this time we ask that all parties respect our current approach in the aftermath of this tragic event. We are speaking and meeting directly with the independent investigators (IPCC), allowing reasonable time for meaningful progress.
1. Be assured we are determined to get answers as to how and why this fatality occurred.
2. We will achieve this by acting within the law, and ensure there is individual and organisational accountability.
3. We will not be deterred and we will use every lawful method available to achieve these ends.
We appreciate all support, but any hostile actions or other events, at this stage, that may risk detracting from our current co-operative engagement with the Independent Police Complaints Commission and Metropolitan Police is unwelcome.

The Charles Family

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Interview on Sarah Reed on RT.

"She wasn't deemed psychotic & was punished when she had episodes" @LeeJasper as inquest finds Sarah Reed's death was down to care failings. 

#Justice4SarahReed #SayHerName #BlackLivesMatter 



Sarah Reed Guardian Article

Marylyn Reed Mother of Sarah 

"Those who failed Sarah Reed must be held to account #Justice4SarahReed Black women face deep levels of oppression. My latest Guardian article.



Friday, 21 July 2017

Sarah Reed Campaign for Justice: An avoidable death.



PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
20th July 2017.

Justice for Sarah Reed begins with health and prison services being held accountable for deaths in custody.
#SarahRead #SayHerName #BlackLivesMatter.

Background

Sarah Reed, a young black woman with a history of mental illness, detained on remand in a single occupancy cell in the healthcare unit of Holloway Women's Prison, was found dead on 11th January 2016. The prison has since been closed. Sarah’s illness was precipitated by the premature death of her six-month-old daughter in 2003, when she and her partner were dispatched from a children's hospice with their deceased baby wrapped in a quilt to find an undertaker. Sarah's mental health deteriorated as a consequence of this trauma. She was also the victim of a vicious assault by a Metropolitan Police Officer, PC James Kiddie in 2012. He was subsequently charged, convicted and dismissed from the police force. This incident further exacerbated Sarah's condition, as did her arrest for an alleged assault whilst defending herself against a sexual attacker in a secure mental health unit.  

The inquest into Sarah Reed’s sudden death was held at City of London Coroners Court. It started on Tuesday, 4th July and concluded on Thursday, 20th July 2017. The jury's verdict found that The Inner London Crown Court’s processes of obtaining psychiatric medical reports were not sufficiently timely. The jury found the delay “particularly difficult to understand”. If a timely Fitness to Plead Assessment had been performed as requested by the court, then Sarah Reed would not have suffered a mental health crisis in HMP Holloway and would have received appropriate treatment within a mental health hospital. The jury concluded this delay significantly contributed to her subsequent death. The jury also found that the Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork (ACCT) review delays and failures were contributory factors to Sarah’s death, in particular the reduction of observations despite her worsening psychotic condition. They found the reduction of Sarah’s anti-psychotic medication to have been appropriate initially, but strongly criticised the subsequent failure to consider safer alternatives. The jury also found that HMP Holloway staff failed to respond to a request from Dr Timms to review Sarah’s anti-psychotic medication in a timely manner. These failures left Sarah in a distressed state without appropriate treatment. Finally, the jury considered HMP Holloway’s inexplicable decision to cancel Sarah’s visits with family and friends especially detrimental.

Sarah’s legal team was exceptional, however the search for the truth is often frustrated by a lack of resources for families in terms of legal and evidential expertise. We believe the inquest evidence presented, outlining the ways in which Sarah’s behaviour was assessed and managed, the withdrawing of her medication, and the punishments and segregation to which she was subjected are highly disturbing. It paints a distressing picture of the inhumane way a Black woman with mental illness was treated in prison. Sarah’s case, like the cases of Dean Saunders and David 'Rocky' Bennett before her, have highlighted systemic failings of care for people with mental illness and institutional racism within prisons.

The Sarah Reed Campaign for Justice has been supported by a number of individuals, groups and organisations, in particular the social movement Blaksox, Women In Prison, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK, and Gender, Education and Enterprise Development for Africa (GEEDA). 

As far as the Campaign and Sarah’s family are concerned, the specific facts relating to Sarah’s death still remain largely unexplained.

We make the following urgent demands:

1.     The Government should commit to ensuring nobody with severe mental illness should be placed in a police or prison cells.

2.     Urgent modernisation and reform of the Coroners’ inquest courts processes to give greater equity and justice to victims’ relatives. 

3.     That Coroners’ inquests recommendations need to be mandatory and enforced by law.
4.     In the event a prisoner is identified as having a mental health crisis requiring transfer to hospital, that this takes place within two (2) hours and treated as an emergency, as is the case with a physical medical crisis.

5.     That no prisoner identified as mentally ill and/or on suicide watch is screened off as punishment, isolating them from human contact and cutting off visibility when they most need it.

This inquest has left serious questions unanswered:

1.     How did Sarah, a woman in poor physical health commit suicide by strangling herself and maintain the pressure past the point of unconsciousness whilst lying face up on a bed, within a ten-minute window?

2.     Why were key reports such as Fitness to Plead and important psychiatric assessment reports delayed, causing significant harm to Sarah?

3.     Why did Holloway Prison psychiatrist, Dr Darren Bull determine that Sarah was not psychotic, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary?

4.     Why was there a substantive and critical delay in transferring Sarah from Holloway to hospital once a decision was made that she was in need of urgent medical treatment?

Donna McKoy, Chair of the Sarah Reed Campaign for Justice said, “Sarah would be alive today had the Coroners' inquest recommendations been considered mandatory and been backed by the force of law.”

Kate Paradine, CEO of Women in Prison asked, “’What was she even doing in prison in the first place?’ This is the question we at the charity Women in Prison hear most often whenever a woman dies in prison. In 2016, 22 women died in prison with 12 of these taking their own lives. Tragically, their stories are remarkably similar - histories of trauma, abuse, mental ill health and self-harm; often in prison on remand or sentenced for non-violent crimes (84% of all prison sentences for women) – mostly for theft like shoplifting. …The inquest into [Sarah’s] death tells the story of a completely broken system.”  

Patricia Lamour MBE of GEEDA pointed out that “Sarah Reed was remanded in custody for the sole purpose of a psychiatric report to assess her fitness to plea. The inordinate delay in processing these reports was a material factor in the circumstances surrounding Sarah's death. No woman, no mother, in fact nobody suffering from mental illness should be detained in either a prison or a police cell.”

Sarah Reed Campaign member Claudia Manchanda said, "I sat through the inquest and heard several examples of what appeared to be evidence of perjury and poor practice by a range of statutory agencies. I think that the evidence given to this inquest should be the basis of charges of perjury, internal disciplinary measures and dismissals, where appropriate."

Zita Holbourne, Sarah Reed Campaign Trade Union liaison officer and Chair of BARAC UK, said that "the gross injustices Sarah experienced, leading to her unexpected death have been of great concern to the trade union movement and, in recognition of the fact that Sarah died because she was black, a woman and disabled due to her mental ill-health, four emergency motions have been carried at the TUC Black Workers, Women & Disabled Workers conferences. The evidence heard at the inquest leaves more questions unanswered. Sarah's family deserves to know the truth."

Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST stated: “Sarah Reed was an extremely vulnerable black woman with a long history of mental ill health. …. The state’s responsibility for deaths goes beyond the prison walls and extends to failures in mental health and substance abuse provision, sentencing policies and the failure to implement the Corston report and invest in alternatives to custody.”

Viv Ahmun of Blaksox called on the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, to publish the long overdue report into Black deaths in custody saying, "It's high time the Home Secretary addressed the deepening anxieties of victims and the wider public about the growing number of controversial black deaths in custody. Sarah Reed is just one of many and it is vital that lessons are learned and urgent reform implemented as a matter of priority."

Lee Jasper said, “The horrific treatment of Sarah Reed whilst on remand in HMP Holloway constitutes cruel and unusual punishment of a young black woman suffering mental ill health. The jury’s findings identified critical failures by prison and mental health staff that substantively contributed towards the death of Sarah Reed. 

Those agencies and individuals that so drastically, failed Sarah should now be subject to profession disciplinary charges and investigations. Those who failed Sarah most notably HMP Holloway Psychiatrists, Dr Van Horn, Dr Van Bull and Prison Governor Emily Thomas should be suspended immediately, pending investigation. 

Sarah tried to tell them she needed help. They refused to listed, Her mother was refused visas, even though Sarah was only on remand simply awaiting her fitness to plead report. Both Sarah and her mother begged and pleaded for that help. Sarah was  black, she was a women. She was mentally ill. She was vulnerable. Denied medication. She was in jail. She stood no chance


Contact Details:
Lee Jasper 07984 181 797
Zita Holbourne 07711 861 660
Patricia Lamour 07508 950 589
Claudia Manchanda 07947 306609


Links to articles:

 https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/23/sarah-reed-death-custody-paradigm-shift-black-women-blaksox-campaign 

https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-0bf3-Sarah-Reed-was-a-woman,-a-mother-and-a-daughter#.WW90aoHTXqA http://thejusticegap.com/2016/02/sarah-reed-she-needed-care-not-punishment/ 

 https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/17/sarah-reeds-mother-deaths-in-custody-holloway-prison-mental-health