Sunday, 26 December 2010
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
Friday, 10 December 2010
“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.
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.
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.
Friday, 3 December 2010
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.
Read the report in the Guardian.
Friday, 26 November 2010
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
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
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 JustHost.com 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
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
If he meant a word of it, perhaps he could say the same to Scotland Yard.
Saturday, 6 November 2010
Monday, 25 October 2010
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.
• 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
Film footage from the
This is the latest blow to Greater Manchester Police’s campaign of intimidation against anti-racists following the demo. Only weeks ago
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
Thursday, 23 September 2010
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
Thursday, 2 September 2010
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.
Tuesday, 31 August 2010
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
Holy Trinity Church
213 Birchfield Road
Birmingham B20 3DG
See Map Here >
7.00pm – 8.00pm
Thornhill Road Police Station
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
Thursday, 19 August 2010
Saturday 21st August 2010
6pm, Karibu Centre, 7
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 www.susthemovie.com.
Family Solicitor: Anna Mazzola, Hickman and Rose - email@example.com
Thursday, 12 August 2010
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
Friday, 30 July 2010
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The Guardian, Friday 30 July 2010
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
Friday, 23 July 2010
Thursday, 22 July 2010
Wednesday, 21 July 2010
THURSDAY 22 JULY, 1PM @ NEW
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
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,
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
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
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.