Sunday, 26 December 2010

Student arrested for stroking a horse

A student from Bristol was arrested in a dawn raid and held without adequate food or legal representation by Avon and Somerset police following his involvement on the 25 November protest against fees and cuts to education, the Guardian newspaper has reported.

Paul Saville was accused of stroking a horse, which to people with half a mind might be somewhat less of a criminal offence than, say, charging a packed crowd of kettled teenagers with one. Police claim that Saville's stroking of the horse was a means to distract police while another protester threw a firework.

But this is not the first time Saville has been arrested for spurious reasons. In 2009 he was arrested for writing "Liberty. The right to question it. The right to ask: 'Are we free?'" in water-soluble chalk on a Bristol pavement. Saville claims he received compensation from the police for this arrest.

Saville claims that he was arrested in a dawn raid, which also resulted in the confiscation of his laptop, hard drive, mobile phone, note pads and even his coat. He was held without charge after his arrest at 5.30am, and not questioned for 12 hours. During this time he was denied two of his three meals, phone calls, and assistance when he suffered a panic attack.

As the mask continues to slip from the police force to further display their contempt for the democratic right to protest, it is clear that these actions are designed to terrify people off the streets. There can be little illusion now in the role of the police and the state in enforcing the illegitimate agenda of the liars and thieves in parliament.

But so far this tactic has yet to pay off. With every baton charge, attempted trampling by horses or Stasi style arrests, the student movement becomes angrier and more committed.

After the brief respite as the cops licked their wounds post-Ian Tomlinson, the force are back on the offensive as if nothing ever happened.

The tragedy would be if another person dies for daring to stand up for their beliefs. Or even if someone goes to jail for stroking a horse.

Saturday, 11 December 2010


Peaceful protest against police violence... Wear a hard hat!

Tuesday 14 December 1pm. New Scotland yard, 8-10 Broadway, London SW1H 0BG.

Alfie Meadows was brutally assaulted by police on the 9th. He suffered severe brain haemorrhaging and has undergone 3 hours of brain surgery. His situation is now stable. This is a call for all to show your solidarity with him and the fight for our civil liberties.

Here's a reminder of the last time we kettled New Scotland Yard:

Friday, 10 December 2010

Student protests: shaken government relies on vicious policing and media spin

“Attacks on police officers and property show that some of the protesters have no respect for London or its citizens,” so said Tory Home Secretary Theresa May, just hours after proving she had no respect for the young and the poor by voting to pull the rug of higher education from beneath their feet.

Last night’s student protest against the trebling in tuition fees has been characterised in the media as unprovoked mindless violence. But the main violence to be seen came not from the students carrying placard sticks or overturning litter bins. After all, shattered glass can be replaced--shattered futures can't.

The real violence came from the police force, seen to use horses to charge at dense crowds of people, beat protesters unconscious and even get caught on film pulling a student from his wheelchair.

One protester, Alfie Meadows, was beaten as he tried to leave the area. He fell unconscious and underwent a three hour operation for bleeding on the brain. Others report that police refused to allow another unconscious protester out of the kettle to receive medical help.

As one anonymous protester reported to the Guardian, “I was outside the kettle in Parliament Square yesterday watching as riot police fought with protesters and then split like the Red Sea to allow two charges of police on horseback into the crowd. It was absolutely horrific to witness. These are dispersal tactics used on the continent but the Met are using it against people who have nowhere to run because they are kettled. The horses charged at high speed and from where I was they seemed to end up wading through the protesters. It’s a miracle that no-one was seriously injured, or even killed.”

This was not simply the case of police responding to violence and disorder. Before the protest had even begun, Scotland Yard was already straining at the bit for a fight, using inflammatory language unseen since the G20 protests in 2009 which saw the death of Ian Tomlinson.

Meanwhile, David Cameron has moved beyond talk of a “violent minority”, now preferring to label most of those who came to stop the fees as “wanting to pursue violence and destroy property.” This is the talk of a man who is scared of opposition from the streets – it’s not easy to con the brave student movement into dropping their opposition to fees. They aren’t Lib Dems, after all. But it is also his attempt to brand all those wanting to stand up to his coalition of cutters as a violent mob, hell-bent of destruction.

But one thing is clear—the movement does not end here. In 1990, the poll tax became law, opposition on the streets continued, and police used horses and truncheons to beat protesters into submission. It didn’t work and the poll tax fell.

The gamble by the police was that using extreme violence against school students would scare them off the street. This gamble has failed. It has simply increased the anger of these young people, who have been taught a valuable—if painful—lesson in whose side the state is on.

This is still only the beginning.

Friday, 3 December 2010

333 custody deaths since 1998: IPCC releases grim statistics

Despite 333 people dying in police custody since 1998, no police officer has ever been convicted. In 2009-10 alone a total of 16 people were killed after police contact.

INQUEST, the campaign group for those whose friends and family have died in custody, outlined a series of major concerns which arose from the findings:

· 68% of people who died were arrested for non-violent, public order offences such as being drunk and disorderly and drug-related offences;

· Police force policy and procedure in relation to custody matters was breached in 27% of cases;

· Police failed to carry out necessary risk assessments in over half of cases booked into police custody where a risk assessment was required and there was a prevalence of incidents where custody officers had not conducted proper checks or rousing of detainees;

· 58 people had mental health issues, including 17 who were detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act;

· 26% of people were restrained on arrest, in transportation or on arrival in custody. People from BME groups were significantly more likely to be restrained than white people. The study suggests restraint was directly related to death in 16 cases – a quarter of which were people from BME communities;

· Prosecutions were recommended against 13 police officers who faced a total of 36 charges yet none resulted in a guilty verdict.

As the police clamp down on student protests, it is important for us to understand the role of police in society, and the ability of the judiciary to cover their tracks. Perhaps rather than chasing after school students for fear they might beat the government cuts they should investigate the real violence perpetrated by police officers on such a massive scale.

Read the report in the Guardian.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Police deny using horse charges on students. Haven't they heard of Youtube?

Spot the difference...

Exhibit A:
From the Guardian: Yesterday a spokesman for the Metropolitan police said: "Police horses were involved in the operation, but that did not involve charging the crowd." He added: "I dare say they [officers policing the Whitehall demonstrations] were doing the movements the horses do to help control the crowd for everyone's benefit, which has been a recognised tactic for many, many years, but no, police officers charging the crowd – we would say, 'No, they did not charge the crowd.'"

Exhibit B:

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

After the student demo... Defend the Right to Protest: Unite against the witch hunt - No to victimisations

There is a meeting tonight at Friends Meeting House in London to defend those victimised after the student demonstration of 10 November.

This will be of especial importance after reports have emerged that tomorrow's student actions against cuts to education and the increase in fees are to be policed by Bob Broadhead. Broadhead ran the disastrous policing operation at the G20 protests in the City of London in 2009 which led to the death of Ian Tomlinson. The Territorial Support Group will also be on standby.

Defend the Right to Protest

Unite against the witchunt - No to victimisations


Tuesday 23rd November, 7.30pm,

Friends Meeting House, opposite Euston Station

Speakers include: Arrested students, John McDonnell MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Mark Serwotka PCS Gen Sec, Sean Vernell London Region UCU, Ashok Kumar – President LSE/Education Activist Network, Matt Foot Socialist Lawyer and Jeremy Corbyn MP.

“A few broken windows are nothing compared to the wholesale destruction of the education system and the welfare state”

61 students have been arrested since the Nov 10th protests and there has been a widespread moral panic whipped up against those who took part in the Millbank occupation. Despite this it is clear there is widespread sympathy with the protesters. Yesterday 299 academics signed a statement which declared “we will fight with students over fees”. Thousands have signed a statement supporting arrested students fighting to clear their names and calling for unity against the governments attacks.

Come along to Tuesday’s public meeting and help to build a united campaign against the witchunt and victimisation of students.


The Con-Dem government has launched a savage attack on further and higher education. The Tories plan to increase tuition fees to £9,000 a year, make swingeing cuts in courses and lecturers and teachers jobs. They also plan to cut the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). The EMA is a small grant given to students in further education to enable them to attend college. Any cut in the EMA would deny many poorer students the opportunity to access further education.

The ministers in this Con-Dem government all benefited from free education – they received grants and their tuition fees were paid by the state. Now they want to close the doors to higher education and further education for a generation of young people.

Their policies are creating a two-tier education system.

On Wednesday 10 November over 50,000 students and lecturers marched in central London against the Con-Dem plans. This is the biggest demonstration over education this country has seen for more than two decades.

The Guardian newspaper headline declared ‘This is just the beginning’. It is right, the Tories attacks on the poor and trade union movement means that there will be many more strikes and protests against the government’s austerity measures.

Britain is not the only country facing huge cuts and austerity measures. Across Europe, particularly in Greece, France and Ireland there have been massive protests, occupations and sit-ins against the austerity plans their governments have tried to introduce.

It therefore can be no surprise that when the students and lecturers marched passed the Tory Party HQ, thousands of protestors occupied the building and its courtyard.

The next day some sections of the media carried lurid stories attacking those that occupied Millbank.

This witch-hunt is an attempt to detract people’s attention away from the real issues. A few broken windows are nothing compared to the wholesale destruction of the education system and the welfare state.

We the undersigned believe:

It is vital that we all unite to stop the government’s attacks.

We support all those students and lecturers falsely arrested at Millbank who are fighting to clear their names.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Police censorship: Fitwatch site taken down by Scotland Yard

In an astounding piece of political censorship, Scotland Yard has forced the removal of a website which has been critical of civil rights abuses by the police.

Following last week’s student protest in London against cuts in education and the increase in tuition fees, politicians and the right wing press have launched a full scale witch-hunt of those it perceives as responsible for occupying the Tory Party HQ in Millbank.

The Fitwatch website, which has chronicled police surveillance and intimidation since 2007, published an article offering information to protestors who were worried about the "irresponsible and frenzied ‘shop-a-student’” initiative being pushed by the liked of Tory blogger Guido Fawkes and the Daily Telegraph.

CO11, the Metropolitan Police’s public order branch, ordered to remove the Fitwatch site for 12 months. The website’s owners were only made aware of this censorship after the website had been removed.

According to the letter, which was seen by the Guardian newspaper, “The website is providing explicit advice to offenders following a major demonstration in central London… The demonstration was marred by violence and several subjects have already been arrested, with a major police operation under way to identify and arrest further offenders.”

How convenient that the police unilaterally decided to take down the website of one of their most vocal critics! After Fitwatch, who will be next?

As last Wednesday’s protest took place, David Cameron was busy pushing trade agreements in China, where he claimed to have lobbied the Chinese government to relax its restrictions on liberty and free speech.

If he meant a word of it, perhaps he could say the same to Scotland Yard.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

United Families and Friends Campaign procession last week

The procession from Trafalgar Square to Downing Street by friends and families of those who have died in custody on Saturday 30 October was a powerful symbol of resistance to injustice. Around 100 people marched to Downing Street, blocking off Whitehall traffic as they walked in silence to David Cameron's residence.

After powerful speeches by the representatives of the families of those who have died, protesters crossed Whitehall to deliver their letter to Cameron which demanded justice for those who have died, and reforms to British policing and the judiciary making it less likely for officers to kill, and more likely for justice to be won.

The march received coverage in the Morning Star and Socialist Worker, and check out the excellent report from Russia Today:

The marchers vowed to return next year, in even greater numbers.

Monday, 25 October 2010

March for justice this Saturday - Join the United Families and Friends Campaign demo

United Campaign Against Police Violence is supporting the United Families and Friends Campaign march to Downing Street this weekend for justice for those who have died in custody.

Assemble at 12noon on Saturday 30th October at Trafalgar Square for a march to Downing Street.

UFFC includes members of the families of Roger Sylvester, Leon Patterson, Rocky Bennett, Alton Manning, Christopher Alder, Brian Douglas, Joy Gardner, Aseta Simms, Ricky Bishop, Paul Jemmott, Harry Stanley, Glenn Howard, Mikey Powell, Jason Mcpherson and Sean Rigg - all of whom have died in custody.

Join the event on Facebook...

What we believe
• That failure of State officials to ensure the basic right to life is made worse by the failure of the State to ever prosecute those responsible for custody deaths.

• That the failure to prosecute those responsible for deaths in custody sends the message that the State can act with impunity.

What We Demand
• Deaths in police custody must be investigated by a body that is genuinely independent of the police.

• Prison deaths must be subject to a system of properly funded investigation that is completely independent of the Prison Service.

• Officers involved in custody deaths be suspended until investigations are completed.

• Prosecutions should automatically follow 'unlawful killing' verdicts at inquests.

• Police forces are made accountable to the communities that they serve.

• Immediate Legal Aid and full disclosure of information be made to the relatives of the victims for investigations, inquests and subsequent prosecutions.

• Officers responsible for deaths should face criminal charges, even if retired.

• CCTV to be placed in the back of all police vehicles

Friday, 22 October 2010

Another blow for Greater Manchester Police’s violent tactics in Bolton

Film footage from the Bolton protest against the English Defence League (EDL) in March apparently shows police officers attacking anti-fascist demonstrators. While this is not the first such film to emerge showing the level of violence used against those attending a counter-protest called by Unite Against Fascism (UAF), it does appear to show police officers punching and batoning Alan Clough, an anti-fascist arrested on the day of the protest and later charged with public order offences. Charges have now been dropped following the release of the footage by Granada TV.

This is the latest blow to Greater Manchester Police’s campaign of intimidation against anti-racists following the demo. Only weeks ago Leeds student Dane Kelly, was cleared of using “threatening behaviour” against PC Gareth Rowe. Kelly was taken to court for swearing at a police officer, but the police were unable to find sufficient evidence to have him found guilty even of this.

For the full story, read the Manchester Evening News report (with footage).

If you would like to get involved with justice4bolton, which campaigns on behalf of those arrested on the day, visit its website.

For more information about police violence on the day of the EDL counter-protest, read a report here.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Black people are 26 times more likely than whites to face stop and search

An international report has shown that black people in Britain are 26 times more likely to be stopped and searched by police than white people.

This flies in the face of claims by the police that "institutional racism" is a problem of the past.

US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson came to London to promote a new campaign against this abuse of power, and called the findings "astonishing".

Despite the rhetoric of change in the police force, these figures show that racial profiling is still central to policing operations on British streets.

Here is the full article in Sunday's Observer newspaper.

Thursday, 23 September 2010


Silent Procession along Whitehall followed by Noisy Protest at Downing Street!


Further info: contact United Families & Friends Campaign:

Join the Facebook group:

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


This from INQUEST:


Olaseni Lewis, known to his family as Seni, was a young black man aged 23 years, engaged in post-graduate Masters studies in IT and Business Management at Kingston University. He had no prior history of mental illness or any untoward behaviour until the evening of Sunday 29 August 2010 when his family and friends noticed that he was behaving strangely, alternating between calm and agitated phases. They sought professional help, resulting eventually in his admission as a vulnerable voluntary patient at the Bethlem Royal Hospital early in the evening of Tuesday 31 August 2010. Within hours of leaving him at the hospital, however, they were to learn that he had collapsed after being restrained by police officers who had been called by hospital staff. Seni was taken by ambulance to Mayday Hospital where brain stem death was confirmed following tests on 3 and 4 September 2010.

Seni’s family and friends are determined to ensure that all the circumstances of his tragic death are brought under proper scrutiny so that they can obtain the answers that they need from those responsible for the fatal restraint and those to whom their loved one had been entrusted. To that end, they will be keeping a close eye on the investigations that are said to have been launched by the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST, that is working with the family and their lawyer said:

This is a deeply disturbing death and it is vital both for the family and the public that there is a rigorous, far-reaching investigation into the fatal restraint of a vulnerable black man in need of care and protection. INQUEST has worked on far too many cases where dangerous restraint has resulted in the deaths of vulnerable people, a disproportionate number of whom are from black and minority ethnic communities.

The family and friends of Seni Lewis are grateful for all the very many messages of support and condolence that they have received in the wake of his untimely death earlier this month. For the rest, they would ask all representatives of the media to respect their privacy so that they can grieve for their loved one in peace, and they will not be making any further comment at this stage.

Notes to editors:

INQUEST is the only organisation in England and Wales that provides a specialist, comprehensive advice service on contentious deaths and their investigation to bereaved people, lawyers, other advice and support agencies, the media, parliamentarians and the wider public. Its casework priorities are deaths in prison and in police custody, in immigration detention and in secure training centres. INQUEST develops policy proposals and undertakes research to campaign for changes to the inquest and investigation process, reduce the number of custodial deaths, and improve the treatment and care of those within the institutions where the deaths occur.

INQUEST is represented on the Ministerial Council on Deaths in Custody and the Ministry of Justice Coroner Service Stakeholder Forum.

Please refer to INQUEST the organisation in all capital letters in order to distinguish it from the legal hearing.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Support anti-fascist Martin Smith in court on 7 September

This from the Unite Against Fascism website:

Trade unionists and artists back Martin Smith at court hearing

PCS union leader Mark Serwotka and Drew McConnell of indie band Babyshambles will be speaking out in support of UAF officer Martin Smith, who faces serious charges after the demo against British National Party leader Nick Griffin’s appearance on the BBC’s Question Time.

Martin, who is also national coordinator of our sister campaign Love Music Hate Racism, was arrested on the protest and has been charged with assaulting a police officer. He strenuously denies the charge.

Mark Serwotka and Drew McConnell – pictured with Martin at last year’s LMHR festival in Stoke – will be speaking at a protest outside the court. They will be joined by former UCU general secretary Paul Mackney, Zita Holbourne, joint chair, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (Barac), Rock Against Racism founder Roger Huddle and LMHR supporters The King Blues.

Join us outside the court
Please support Martin by joining us outside the court.

9am Tuesday 7 September
South Western Magistrates Court, 176a Lavender Hill, London SW11 1JU
Bring your banners!

The court is just up the road from Clapham Junction station (see map). Nearest tubes: Clapham South and Clapham Common.

UPDATE – TUBE STRIKE: There is set to be a tube strike on the day of the hearing – use Clapham Junction rail station (5 mins from Waterloo or Victoria). Bus routes 35, 37, 39, 49, 77, 87, 156, 170, 219, 295, 319, 337, 344, 345, C3 and G1 all stop close to the court. Please allow extra time to travel by bus because it is rush hour and buses will be crowded during the strike.

Trade union support
We’re asking trade unionists to support Martin by passing the model motion below and making a donation towards court costs. The RMT London Fleet 960 branch has done just that, with a £200 contribution.

Don’t forget to let us know if your organisation backs the motion – email us with the name of your union branch or group or drop us a line to the postal address below.

model motion

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

7th Memorial of the death of Mikey Powell

This from the Justice for Mikey Powell website:

In Remembrance…

Two events are being held by the Mikey Powell family (both on 5th September 2010) in memory of Mikey Powell organised by his family. Both will be taking place in Birmingham, West Midlands.

Mikey died after being restrained by West Midlands police officers from Thornhill Road police station on 7th September 2003.

Mikey : RIP
Memorial Service:

From 11.00am
Holy Trinity Church
213 Birchfield Road
Birmingham B20 3DG
See Map Here >

Candlelit Vigil:

7.00pm – 8.00pm
Thornhill Road Police Station
Thornhill Road
Birmingham, B20
See Map Here >

The Friends of Mikey Powell Campaign for Justice was established by the family of Michael Lloyd Powell (known as Mikey), a cousin of the renowned poet and writer, Benjamin Zephaniah, following his death in Police custody. Mikey was 38 years old and a father of three young children.

He had suffered several short episodes of mental illness from which he had recovered. An episodes occurred on 7th September 2003.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Sean Rigg vigil and meeting report

Around 100 campaigners came to remember Sean Rigg at a vigil outside Brixton police station last night. Sean died at the police station two years ago and the family still seek justice.

A coffin was marched into the police station as campaigners demanded justice. As usual, the police were too ashamed to show their faces.

This was followed by a meeting of around 100 people at the nearby Karibu Centre. After hearing from representatives of some of the families who have lost loved ones to the police, there was a discussion abut what to do next. The meeting voted to support a "people's court" to rule on who is responsible for the deaths of so many.

More details will follow. For now, watch this excellent video of the vigil courtesy of Paul Hanes from Fourman films.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Remember Sean Rigg – two years without justice

Saturday 21st August 2010

5pm, Brixton Police Station, SW9 7DD - vigil

6pm, Karibu Centre, 7 Gresham Road SW9 7PH – public meeting

On 21 August 2008, our brother Sean Rigg, was arrested by police, “restrained” and transported to Brixton police station in the back of a van. He was removed from the van in a collapsed state and died a short while after whilst in the station yard. He never entered the custody suite door.

The events leading to his death raise suspicion and concern. Although a mental health service user, Sean was fit and healthy with no illicit drugs or alcohol found in his body at the time of his death. The Independent Police Complaints Commission's (IPCC) report completed in February 2010 is, in the family’s opinion, “Heavily biased in favour of the police”, despite the obvious suspicious circumstances surrounding Sean’s death. A catalogue of errors in the investigation has caused the family to lose faith in the British judicial process following a DEATH IN CUSTODY.

For two years the family have vigorously enquired and campaigned in an attempt to find out the truth of what really happened on the night. Currently the family’s legal team are preparing for the inquest, scheduled for 2012.

Justice and Change will be hosting an open floor discussion where they and other families will talk about their experiences of injustice. The family campaigns include Christopher Alder, Brian Douglas, Roger Sylvester, Ian Tomlinson, Blair Peach and Jean Charles de Menezes amongst others, who have lost loved one’s in police custody – all have lost faith in the British Judicial System. What has really changed in the last 30 years?

Come listen and discuss your views about the controversial topic of DEATHS IN CUSTODY and the lack of accountability.

Other supportive death in custody campaign organisations, such as INQUEST, Newham Monitoring Project (NMP), Black Mental Health UK (BMH UK) and United Campaign Against Police Violence (UCAPV), will speak about the current issues and explore what can be done do to bring about awareness and change.

Family solicitor Anna Mazzola said: “It is now two years since Sean died and his family are no closer to getting answers to fundamental questions such as: why didn’t the police and NHS Trust respond to pleas for help from Sean’s mental health hostel? What happened to Sean in those crucial minutes between him being arrested and arriving in a collapsed state at Brixton police station? Why haven’t they been able to access key CCTV footage from the night? It is devastating for the family that they should have to wait until 2012 for a full inquest and deeply worrying that until that time the policies and failings which led to Sean’s death will remain unremedied.”

Deborah Coles of Inquest said: “Sean’s family’s disquiet about the lack of impartiality and independence of the investigation process and the serious delay in holding an inquest have once again resulted in a lack of confidence in the investigation mechanisms following deaths involving the police. The recent decision not to prosecute anyone in relation to the death of Ian Tomlinson follows a litany of cases where the police have not been held to account for unlawful use of force and further anger and mistrust about how the state responds to such deaths.

“Sean Rigg was another black man who has died after being restrained by police officers. INQUEST’s monitoring of deaths in custody/following police contact has highlighted how a disproportionate number of people from black and minority ethnic communities have died following the use of force. INQUEST will continue to work with his family and raise the serious issues his death raises at a parliamentary and policy level. There must be non means tested public funding for the family to be represented at the inquest in the same way that police lawyers will be paid for out of the public purse and the inquest must be held as promptly as possible given the serious family and public interest in scrutinising the events leading to the tragic death of a vulnerable man.”

Patrick Ward of United Campaign Against Police Violence, said: “The treatment of the family of Sean Rigg smacks of a justice system chasing its tail to cover up a scandal. Now the family are told to wait for the inquest in 2012, when no doubt the judicial system will seek other ways of proving its 'innocence'. We must unite at events like this to coordinate our continued campaign for justice for all those who have died at the hands of those who claim to protect us.”

The Campaign will also be hosting a private screening of the film “SUS” - a true and chilling account of one man's brush with the police in 1979 - written by Barrie Keefe who also wrote “The Long Good Friday”. Unfortunately due to limited seating, this will be by invitation only. However, SUS will be out on DVD 6 September. See the film’s website for upcoming screenings

Family Solicitor: Anna Mazzola, Hickman and Rose -

Sean Rigg vigil and meeting - this Saturday

Thursday, 12 August 2010

"Serious, gratuitous and prolonged"... officers to face prosecution for attack on Babar Ahmad

Four officers from the Met Police territorial support group are to be charged over 2003 attack on "terror suspect" at his home.

This from the Free Babar Ahmad website:

The Director of Public Prosecutions has decided that TSG officers PC Mark Jones, PC James-Bowen, PC Cowley and PC Donoghue will face a joint charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in relation to the December 2003 assault on Babar Ahmad.

Bhatt Murphy forwarded a file of papers to the CPS. The decision has been reached independently of the Metropolitan Police and Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Babar Ahmad responded to the decision:

"I am pleased that the CPS has decided that a jury will hear the evidence in this case and it will now be for the jury to determine whether any police officer should be punished for the assault upon me in December 2003. I have no further comment to make at this time."

We would now invite the Commissioner to confirm that all 4 officers have been suspended from duty.

Monday, 9 August 2010

DPP protest video

Thanks to Indefilms333 on Youtube for this video of the protest outside the Department for Public Prosecutions on 30 July.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Letter in the Guardian: Protest at shocking Tomlinson decision

Protest at shocking Tomlinson decision
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The Guardian, Friday 30 July 2010
Article history
The shocking decision by the Crown Prosecution Service not to charge any officers over the death of Ian Tomlinson (Editorial, 23 July) exposes the root-and-branch corruption of the justice system. Rather than protecting the innocent, the police, CPS and Independent Police Complaints Commission have been shown to protect each other's backs. From the start, when the IPCC accepted the police line that no CCTV cameras witnessed the attack on Tomlinson, through Dr Freddy Patel's botched first postmortem, up to this latest scandal, the justice system has closed ranks to protect its own.

The fact that PC Simon Harwood, who struck Tomlinson before he died, had previously been investigated for alleged aggressive behaviour and yet was allowed to join the notoriously violent Territorial Support Group is an outrage. As revealed by the Guardian last November, 5,000 complaints were made about the activities of the TSG over four years, yet only nine were upheld.

Tomlinson's case is far from the first. Since 1969 over 1,000 people have died in police custody in Britain, yet not a single police officer has been charged with manslaughter or murder during this time. The Tomlinson family should be given public funding should they decide to continue the legal battle for justice for Ian – as should all families seeking justice for those who have died at the hands of the police. They should also have the right to see PC Harwood's disciplinary proceedings conducted in the open. We will be picketing the offices of the director of public prosectuions in London at midday today.

Patrick Ward United Campaign Against Police Violence, Samantha Rigg-David Sean Rigg Justice and Change Campaign, Janet Alder Sister of Christopher Alder, Saqib Deshmukh and Zia Ullah Justice for Habib "Paps" Ullah, Bob Crow General secretary, RMT, John O Miscarriages of Justice UK, Chris Knight and Camilla Power G20 Meltdown/Democracy Village, Andy Hewett and Teresa Delaney Co-conveners, Green Left, Martin Smith Socialist Workers party, Emily Apple Fitwatch, Anna Mazzola Hickman & Rose, Andy May Defend Peaceful Protest, Ian Bone, Jeff Parks Legal Defence & Monitoring Group

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Justice for Ian Tomlinson: Picket against Office of Department of Public Prosecutionthis Friday

A protest has been called on Friday outside the Office of Department of Public Prosecution HQ. This is in response to the CPS decision to charge noone over the death of Ian Tomlinson, despite a mountain of evidence showing him being attacked by PC Simon Harwood at the G20 protests on 1 April last year.

Everyone knows who killed Ian Tomlinson - no more lies, whitewashes or cover-ups. Let's make our voices heard and continue the fight for justice for Ian and all those who have died at the hands of the police.

Friday 30 July, 12 noon
Office of Department of Public Prosecution, Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge, SE1 9HS

Friday, 23 July 2010

Launch of Ian Tomlinson Campaign Fighting Fund

This from the Ian Tomlinson Family Campaign website...

Many, many thanks for the hundreds of e-mails and messages of support sent to the campaign yesterday. We can't possibly respond to them individually but it is really important to Ian's family to know that they have so many people supporting them.
Many have asked if there is anything more they can do and today, we are launching aCampaign Fighting Fund. There is still long road ahead in the fight for justice and the Fund will help the Tomlinson family to make decisions about the direction of the campaign without always having to worry about the financial costs, especially when the emotional ones are tough enough already.

Donations by PayPal won't be up and running until next week, so check back then. But if you personally or your organisation (union branch, community or campaign group, for instance) can help by making a donation, please make cheques payable to 'Ian Tomlinson Family Campaign' and send to:

Ian Tomlinson Family Campaign
c/o Newham Monitoring Project
170 Harold Rd
London E13 0SE

Thursday, 22 July 2010

No charges on officers over Ian Tomlinson's death. No justice, once again.

The CPS report into the death of newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson has stated that no police officers face charges of any form over Ian's death, despite video and photo evidence clearly showing Ian being attacked by a police officer.

This is another example of the police and the whole justice system denying justice to those killed by police and protecting instead the perpetrators.

We will now assemble at 1pm at New Scotland Yard to let the police know this is fooling nobody.

We will continue to fight for justice for Ian Tomlinson.

For the latest, check the Guardian report.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010



Tomorrow, Thursday 22 July, on the fifth anniversary of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube station, we expect to hear the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) report into the death of Ian Tomlinson, the newspaper seller killed in the City of London as he tried to make his way home past the police during the G20 protests on 1 April 2009.

If a police officer is charged with manslaughter it will be the first time this has ever happened in Britain, despite over 1,000 people dying in police custody since the late 1960s. This should be seen as a step forward for those campaigning for justice.

But if it is a whitewash we don’t want them to get away with it. No matter how much they talk about a new era of policing and enshrining the right to protest, the establishment will once again have allowed police officers to kill an innocent man.

We want as many people to gather as possible to either celebrate a victory or step up our campaign for justice.

Gather at 1pm outside New Scotland Yard, 8-10 Broadway, Westminster, London SW1H 0BG.

This is short notice! Spread this message far and wide: phone, email, text, Tweet, Facebook, chalk on the pavements and bring your friends.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Goodbye Section 44!

After ten years of campaigning, Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 has been abandoned by the government – with immediate effect.

The act allowed police officers to stop and search members of the public without reasonable suspicion for terrorism – primarily against protesters and disproportionately on young black and Asian men.

The European court ruled Section 44 illegal, and the government did not appeal the ruling.

But we should not rest on our laurels just yet. While this law has been changed, Home Secretary Theresa May has also made it clear that she wants to remove “red tape” for policing, and allow police to do their job with “less paperwork”.

This should be a warning. Less paperwork means less accountability. It means more young people, usually from ethnic minorities, being harassed in the street without officers being held accountable.

In rejecting one draconian law, we need to make sure it is not simply replaced with another.

For more information, check out the Guardian’s report.

Friday, 28 May 2010

The return of the ‘sus’ laws?

This is an article from Socialist Worker this week, which outlines what lies ahead for policing from the Con-Dem coalition government.

New home secretary Theresa May promised to ramp up police powers in her speech to the Police Federation annual conference in Bournemouth.

May wants to give police powers that echo those of the hated and racist “sus” laws.

They would have the ability to charge people with “minor” offences without the involvement of the Crown Prosecution Service.

May also outlined plans to “untangle the knot” of police health and safety regulations.

At first glance this seems like a minor point—but remember Jean Charles de Menezes.

It was the breach of health and safety regulations that brought the police before the court.

For all the talk of restoring civil liberties, the Con-Dem coalition have made it clear that any such changes will be secondary to the huge cuts they plan to make to public services.

We have to continue to push for reforms, and at the same time stand firm against any attempts to reintroduce 'sus', which was used so draconianly - mainly against black people - during the 1970s/1980s.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Tribute to Mikey Powell - Saturday 15 May, Leicester

4WardEver UK, The Mikey Powell Campaign and several other groups will present this event on Saturday to mark what would have been Mikey's 45th birthday, and to showcase other families cases and campaign groups.

The eveing includes:

Tribute to Mikey Powell following the recent inquest and to mark what would have been his 45th birthday

Family spotlights (different families tell their stories)

Focus on / solidarity with those on US death row (featuring Tony Egbuna Ford)

Speakers from key UK/International groups: INQUEST, Prison Reform Trust, Reprieve etc

Campaign banner exhibition (banners from family campaigns on display)

Live music / dance / poetry

Fundraising raffle & sign-up to the United Families & Friends Campaign

Stands by various campaign & pressure groups...

To book a ticket go to the Mikey Powell Campaign website.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Blair Peach report released - after 30 years

After over 30 years a report into the death of Blair Peach on an anti-fascist protest in Southall, West London, has been released. Peach was killed after being attacked by Special Patrol Group officers on 23 April 1979. This report, by Commander Cass, has been repressed ever since.

The following reactions to the report have been released by INQUEST:

Celia Stubbs, partner of Blair Peach, said:

This report totally vindicates what we have always believed – that Blair was killed by one of six officers from Unit 1 of the Special Patrol Group whose names have been in the public domain over all these years: Insp Murray, PC White, PC Richardson, PC Scottow, PC Freestone and PS Lake. That serves only to emphasise that there can be no excuse for the way in which the writer of the report, like the police generally, sought to criminalise the many protestors including Blair at the demonstration against the National Front election meeting.

Celia Stubb’s solicitor, Raju Bhatt of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, said:

The mindset of Commander Cass and his approach to his investigation is betrayed by the following excerpt from his report where he sought to define its terms of reference and context:


My brief is to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death, so I do not propose to enlarge much further on the events of that day except to emphasise that it was an extremely violent volatile and ugly situation where there was serious disturbance by what can be classed as a ‘rebellious crowd’. The legal definition ‘unlawful assembly’ is justified and the event should be viewed with that kind of atmosphere prevailing. Without condoning the death I refer to Archbold 38th edition para 2528: “In case of riot or rebellious assembly the officers endeavouring to disperse the riot are justified in killing them at common law if the riot cannot otherwise be suppressed [sic].”

It is telling that, despite these instincts, the investigation was driven by the weight of the evidence to conclude that the fatal blow to Blair Peach was struck by a police officer whose actions were then concealed by his brother officers. A clear and unequivocal acknowledgement to that effect is now required from the Metropolitan Police, so that we can all be confident that the years of obfuscation and prevarication have been left behind for once and for all.

Deborah Coles, Co-Director of INQUEST said:

The family, friends and community have waited for 31 years for some public recognition and acknowledgement that the police were responsible for Blair’s death. We call upon Sir Paul Stephenson to publicly acknowledge for the first time that a Metropolitan Police officer was responsible for Blair’s death. The whole police investigation into what happened on 23 April 1979 was clearly designed as an exercise in managing the fallout from the events of that iconic day in Southall, to exonerate police violence in the face of legitimate public protest. The echoes of that exercise sound across the decades to the events of the G20 protest and the death of Ian Tomlinson in 2009.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

A year on, we still wait for answers about Ian Tomlinson's death

From today's Guardian:

A year on, we still wait for answers about Ian Tomlinson's death

It has now been one year since the tragic death of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests in the City of London on 1 April. While we appreciate a fair and thorough investigation takes time, Ian's grieving family has been left in limbo for a year waiting for a full explanation about the circumstances of his death. There is now very real concern as to whether the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) proposes to charge anyone in respect of the assault and death of Ian.

The CPS has been in possession of the provisional Independent PoliceComplaints Commission investigation findings since August 2009. We understand that these findings, at least in part, will provide the basis for a decision on whether to prosecute anyone for Ian's death. We also note that the director of public prosecutions said in a Guardian interview (21 September 2009) that he hoped the CPS would reach a decision "within a few months".

Delays in the investigation and charging decisions increase the suffering for families of victims leaving them unable to gain closure and move on with their lives. Families are greatly concerned not to prejudice the process and are therefore effectively silenced from expressing their views publicly about the death of their loved one. They are desperate to ensure any potential future legal proceedings are not undermined nor an excuse found to abandon any cases that might be brought. The Tomlinson family has endured a year of public scrutiny unable to respond to questions about Ian's death, with little they can do but wait for the outcome of a decision. The delay however is now intolerable.

The policing of the G20 protest caused widespread public concern around use of excessive force by police officers. Proceedings against many protestors arrested on the day, as well as a number of reviews and investigations into the events of the day, have all been concluded. In the case of Ian Tomlinson, there is a heightened need for the statutory investigating body to be seen to be carrying out justice in a robust, transparent and timely manner to address public confidence. One year later the public, like the Tomlinson family, are still left with unanswered questions about how and why Ian died at the G20.

In the absence of any updates from the CPS, we have growing concerns about the investigation into Ian's death. There has been a complete lack of communication and transparency about the delay into concluding the investigation into Ian's death that calls the CPS's credibility into question.

As we have already set out, we do not wish to prejudice any investigation or potential proceedings but believe that either a decision or public explanation is due. We call on the CPS to fulfill its public duty regarding the investigation into the death of Ian Tomlinson.

Julia Tomlinson, Ian Tomlinson Family Campaign

Estelle du Boulay, Newham Monitoring Project

John McDonnell MP

Dr Caroline Lucas MEP

Jean Lambert MEP

Bob Crowe, RMT

Mark Serwotka, Public and Commercial Services Union

Shami Chakrabarti, Liberty

Deborah Coles, Inquest

Vivian Figueiredo, on behalf of the family of Jean Charles de Menezes

Samantha Rigg-David, on behalf of the family of Sean Rigg

Penny Green, professor of law and criminology, King's College London

Samantha Patterson, sister of Jason Mcpherson

Terry Stewart, The Friends of Blair Peach

Jenny Jones, Green party Metropolitan Police Authority member

Peter Herbert, Society of Black Lawyers

Cllr Duwayne Brooks, Liberal Democrat for Downham Ward

Pete Firmin and Andrew Fisher, Labour Representation Committee

Darren Johnson, Member of London Assembly

Frances Wright, Camp for Climate Action

Val Swain and Emily Apple, Fit watch

Pragna Patel, Southall Black Sisters

Sukhwant Dhaliwal, Women Against Fundamentalism.

Christine Shawcroft, Labour Briefing

David Rosenberg, Jewish Socialists' Group

Patrick Ward, United Campaign Against Police Violence

Estella Schmid, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities

Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya, sociology and public policy, Aston University

Councillor Romayne Phoenix, London Green party campaigns co-ordinator

Joseph Healy, Green party regional councillor for London

Andy Hewitt, co-chair of the Green party trade union group

Teresa Delaney, co-chair of the Green party trade union group

Frances Webber, human rights lawyer

Harriet Wistrich, solicitor at Birnberg Peirce

Ronan Toal, barrister, Garden Court Chambers

Hossein Zahir, barrister, Garden Court Chambers

David Watkinson, Garden Court Chambers

Anya Lewis, Garden Court Chambers

Richard J Harvey, Garden Court Chambers

David Emanuel, Garden Court Chambers

Yasin Patel, 25 Bedford Row Chambers

Rajiv Menon, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers

Professor Mick Ryan, former chair of Inquest

Zoe Mercer, When No One is Watching Campaign

Dr Emma Williamson, Research Fellow, Centre for Gender and Violence Research, University of Bristol

Professor Phil Scraton, Queen's University, Belfast

Dr Sacha Darke, senior lecturer in socio-legal studies and criminology, Department of Social and Historical Studies, University of Westminster

Mohan Ambikaipaker, University of Texas

Yasmin Khan, War on Want

Camilla Graham Wood

Alastair Morgan

Doctor Sheila Preston

Nick Moseley

Zareena Mustafa

Jill Phillips

Guy Williams

Simon Mercer

Lochlinn Parker

Sally Stanton

Jack Gordon Harris

Rachael Horner

Chris Heatley

David Mery

Sam Walton

Fiona Harrington

Bruce Benjamin