Thursday, 15 December 2011

Jesse Jackson calls for public inquiry into British deaths in police custody

Veteran civil rights activist Jesse Jackson was in London today (Thursday, 15 December) to call for an inquiry into deaths in police custody.

“The police have permission to behave in this way,” he said. “They are protected by the state. The choice is whether we adjust to oppression, or resist and fight back.”

See the video below of the meeting.

Click here for a report of the day in Socialist Worker.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Procession to Downing Street--no more deaths in custody!

This Saturday, 29th October 2011

12.30pm Assemble Nelsons Column Trafalgar Square, London, to march to Downing Street
Bring banners, wear black.

Families of those who have died in police and prison custody and secure state care will hold a silent procession and then deliver a letter of demands to the Prime Minister.

Over 300 people have died in police custody since 1998, yet no police officer has ever been brought to justice and the families still seek answers.

This annual march takes the campaign for justice to the door of Number 10.

Supported by the families of Kingsley Burrell, Sean Rigg, Smiley Culture, Roger Sylvester, Mark Duggan, Habib Ullah, Mikey Powell, Ricky Bishop and many more.

Come on Saturday to stand with these families in demanding answers.

Organised by United Families and Friends Campaign

Speaking in advance of the march, Marcia Rigg, sister of Sean Rigg who died in police custody in Brixton in August 2008 said:

"We will be marching to remember all our loved ones and to remind the Government that we are not going away. We need justice and positive action taken to ensure that this terrible list of deaths at the hands of the state has no more victims added to it."

Monday, 24 October 2011

United Families and Friends Campaign annual march for justice

By Families, For Families

Saturday 29th October 2011 – From 12.30pm
Assemble: South side of Nelsons Column, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN



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

Download Flyer Here >


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Three deaths in one week after "non-lethal" restraint

Three people have died in police custody in just a week—all were restrained with “non-lethal” weapons.

Philip Hulmes, 53, was shot with a Taser gun at his home in Over Hulton, near Bolton, on Tuesday.

It is believed that before being Tasered, Philip stabbed himself in the abdomen.

Just one day before, on Monday night, Jacob Michael, 25, from Widnes, Cheshire, died after he was arrested by 11 police officers and “restrained” with pepper spray.

He was taken to hospital and died within two hours.

And last week Dale Burns, 27, died in Cumbria after he was both Tasered and pepper-sprayed by police during an arrest.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating all three deaths.

As the court system strains under the weight of mass arrests following the riots, and as young people are being locked up for crimes as “serious” as stealing an ice cream cone, isn’t it time the police looked at the ever increasing scandal of deaths in custody?

Since 1998, over 336 people have died in custody. No police officer has been convicted over these deaths.

We have to make sure the cover-ups stop.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Give Our Kids a Future! A North London Unity Demonstration

A demonstration addressing the causes and concerns which led to this week's rioting has been called this Saturday by the North London Assembly.

We should not forget the role played by the police killing of Mark Duggan in the unrest, nor the everyday harassment of poor communities by police.

Details below are from the Facebook page for the demonstration:

Give Our Kids a Future!
Saturday 13 August from 1pm
Gillett Square Dalston to Tottenham Green

This march is called by The North London Assembly, a temporary Assembly which saw 70 local community activists meet at the North London Community House on Tuesday 9th August to discuss our reaction to the riots of early August in Tottenham and Hackney. It includes people from many Turkish and Kurdish community groups, like Day Mer and Gik Der, and also the Haringay and Hackney Alliances for Public Services who are all supporting this march.
We state that this is not us seeking to represent the community but it is our attempt to try to bring unity to the community in which we live. There are many different views on the events but we are seeking the most positive outcome from them.
This will be a positive and peaceful march with an Assembly at the end for people to express what they are thinking about recent events

Statement 10/8/2011

A North London Unity Demonstration

Saturday 13th August
Assemble Gillet Square, Dalston, N16 at 1pm. March to Tottenham Green, N15

Our communities need a united response to both the riots and the causes of despair and frustration that can result in riots.

We demand:

We are responding to the events of the last few days, in particular the Tottenham protest over the killing of Mark Duggan and the riots that followed in Tottenham and Hackney.

By coming together and calling for unity we want to encourage all sections of our local communities, young and old,
black and white, residents and workers, to work together to find solutions to some of our long-standing problems.

We know there are all kinds of strong feelings and differing views. We do not claim to represent the whole community, but merely seek to promote unity in the communities in which we live.

Simply labelling rioters as opportunistic criminals does little to relieve tensions and provides a poor explanation for the worst riots in decades. While the shooting of Mark Duggan provided the trigger, against a background of oppressive policing, especially towards ethnic minorities, the root causes are deeper.

Our communities have been blighted by high levels of deprivation, poverty and lack of opportunity for decades. Inequality is growing and recent funding cuts to local services, particularly youth facilities, along with rising unemployment, and cuts to EMA and benefits have exacerbated the conditions in which sections of frustrated young people turned to rioting, which unfortunately has resulted in people losing their homes and small/family businesses losing their livelihoods.

Britain is a wealthy country, but the economic crisis created by greedy bankers and financial speculators is further impoverishing already poor areas like Tottenham and Hackney. The £390 billion of combined wealth of the richest 1,000 people in Britain should be redirected to fund the services we all need.

In the last few months we have seen mass local protests against cuts, student occupations to defend free education, half-a-million strong demonstration on March 26, and 800,000 public service workers out on strike on June 30th.

We need to build on these and other inspiring local and national struggles. Let's work together for a decent society, based not on greed, inequality and poor conditions, but on justice, freedom, sharing and co-operation.

North London Unity Demonstration supported by the Haringey Alliance for Public Services, Hackney Alliance for Defending Public Serices, Day-Mer (Turkish and Kurdish Community Centre), NLCH (North London Community Centre), Day-Mer Youth, Alevi Cultural Centre, Fed-Bir, Kurdish Community Centre: Roj Women, Halkevi, Gik-Der (Refugee Workers Cultural Association). Britania Peace Council: Hundred Flowers Cultural Centre. TOHUM. Socialist Party, Youth Fight For Jobs, Right To Work, Red Pepper.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

It's right to protest

The Defend the Right to Protest campaign have called a meeting in the light of continued police violence on protests. At a time when people can be arrested "pre-emptively" for protesting, the need for a united response to these attacks on our civil liberties is greater than ever.

Wednesday 8 June
7pm, University of London Union (ULU), London WC1E 7HY.

Speakers include: Jody McIntyre, Alfie Meadows, Tony Benn, UK Uncut, Bryan Simpson (arrested for occupying Millbank), The Guillotine 3 (under suspicion for conspiracy to commit street theatre during the Royal Wedding), John Mcdonnell MP, Sara Tomlinson –NUT & Stop Kettling our Kids.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Unlawful killing verdict in Ian Tomlinson inquest

Ian Tomlinson was unlawfully killed by a police officer on 1 April 2009, according to the jury at the inquest into his death.

Ian Tomlinson was struck from behind by PC Simon Harwood during the G20 protests in the City of London.

This is a big victory for Ian's family and all those who have campaigned for justice.

After this decision, pressure must be put back on the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kier Starmer, who last July ruled that PC Harwood would not be prosecuted for manslaughter.

Despite the roadblocks left by the police, the IPCC, the CPS, the DPP and sections of the media, the jury came to its conclusion "beyond reasonable doubt".

Now we must continue to campaign for all those who have died after contact with police, and who have been denied justice for so long.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

MPs, activists and trade unionists condemn new attacks

Release from Defend the Right to Protest:

A series of raids and “pre-emptive arrests” in the days leading up to the royal wedding represent a dangerous clampdown on our hard-won right to protest.

Squats have been raided by large teams of police officers. Activists have been arrested on the bizarre charge of “conspiracy to cause public nuisance and breach of the peace” for trying to organize street theatre on the day of the royal wedding. Students arrested after the tuition fees protests have had their bail hearings moved forward and been charged and banned from the City of Westminster.

These include Alfie Meadows, who nearly died of a brain haemorrhage after being hit with a baton on December 9 and has now been charged with violent disorder. This follows the kettling and police violence against student protests and the mass arrest of 148 protestors who peacefully occupied Fortnum & Mason on March 26.

Politicians condemn regimes in the Middle East that do not allow their citizens to speak out against their rulers (some of whom, including the royal families of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, are attending the royal wedding today). Yet the political policing that has preceded the royal wedding threatens to do the same in Britain, making it a crime to be a protestor on high profile state occasions.

If this can happen for the royal wedding, how can we be confident that we will be allowed to protest at the opening of Parliament, the Tory Party conference or Chancellor Osborne’s budget announcement?

Now more than ever, as the government cuts threaten the jobs, services, pensions and benefits that millions rely upon, we need to assert our right to protest without fear of arrest and intimidation. We will be protesting outside the first hearing of Fortnum & Mason occupiers on Monday 9 May, 9am, at City of Westminster Magistrates Court and invite everyone who believes in defending our democratic rights to join us there.

Initiated by Defend the Right to Protest

Signatories include:

  • Stop Kettling Our Kids
  • UK Uncut
  • Justice for Alfie Meadows
  • United Campaign Against Police Violence
  • Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
  • Matt Foot – Campaigning Lawyer
  • Aamer Anwar – Campaigning Lawyer
  • Billy Bragg
  • John McDonnell MP
  • Katy Clark MP
  • Liam Burns – President NUS Scotland
  • Mark Serwotka – General Secretary PCS
  • Billy Hayes – General Secretary CWU
  • Roz Kaveney – Queer Resistance
  • Laurie Penny – journalist
  • Nina Power – Senior Lecturer Philosophy, Roehampton University
  • Michael Chessum – Co-founder National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts
  • Mark Bergfeld – NUS NEC, Education Activist Network
  • Ashok Kumar LSE SU Education Officer
  • Kanja Sessay NUS NEC, Black Students Committee

Friday, 29 April 2011

This is what democracy looks like

Footage of street theater organisers Chris Knight and Camila Power arrested the day before the wedding.

Their "crime" was to organise street theater featuring a replica (but obviously harmless) guillotine.

So there you have it. You can be arrested for using your free speech... before you've even used it.

Chris, a anthropology professor, and Camilla have both been heavily involved in UCAPV. Good luck to them both.

Defend the Right to Protest

The right to protest has been dealt serious blows in recent weeks. Dozens have been raided and arrested simply for planning to protest on the day of the royal wedding. Meanwhile, police raided squats with the excuse that they might also somehow spoil the royals’ big day.

The group Defend the Right to Protest has called several events to organise opposition to these attacks on our civil liberties.

On Thursday the group has called an emergency open meeting in London on how to respond to the attacks. Speakers include Alfie Meadows, who was given brain damage after being beaten by police on the student protests last year, and was later arrested; John McDonnell MP, a Fortnum and Masons occupier, and others.

This from the Defend the Right to Protest Facebook group:



Preemptive raids on protesters before the Royal Wedding.....Alfie Meadows who underwent surgery after been hit by a police baton charged with violent disorder......Fortnum and Masons protesters charged with aggravated trespass. This must stop! Please come along and help organise a response to these attacks on our right to protest

"These raids and arrests are outrageously disproportionate and demonstrate the decline that has taken place in the protection of civil liberties in this country. Those arrested must be defended and supported by us all". JOHN McDONNELL MP

"This appears to be a worrying extension of police using powers preemptively to stop people protesting. They claim to be independent and facilitate peaceful protest its difficult to see how they can justify those statements in light of what they are doing" MATT FOOT CAMPAIGNING LAWYER

This will be followed on Monday 9 May with a protest at City Westminster Court, where Fortnum and Mason occupiers have their hearing. 140 were arrested and detained following the occupation on 26 March.



Protest outside the hearing of Fortnum & Mason occupiers.

On 26 March, around 140 people were arrested and detained for taking part in the occupation of Fortnum & Mason to highlight tax avoidance. Their protest was peaceful, as documented by eyewitness reports and video footage. They were told by police that they were free to leave – but as soon as the protestors left the building they were arrested. The occupiers now face charges of aggravated trespass and the possibility of a prison sentence.

The Fortnum and Mason arrests are part of a much wider project that threatens the right to protest. The student demonstrations of November and December were regularly kettled and charged by mounted officers or uniformed thugs wielding batons and shields. Tahmeena Bax and Alfie Meadows were peaceful protestors hospitalised by police. Alfie now faces charges of violent disorder – unlike the officers responsible for the brain haemorrhage that nearly killed him.

Faced with unprecedented cuts that threaten to decimate the welfare state, now more than ever we must defend and assert our right to protest. On Monday 9 May join us outside the first of the Fortnum & Mason hearing to defend the protestors facing charges and to remind the government and the police that we can and will exercise our protest without fear of arrest or intimidation.

Stay up to date with our campaign:

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Smiley Culture March for Human Rights

Saturday 16 April, Assemble 12 noon

Southbank Club, 124-130 Wandsworth Road, London SW8 2DL.

The Campaign for Justice for Smiley Culture has called a demonstration to New Scotland Yard on Saturday, 16 April. It has received massive support from communities around the country, and has the potential to be very big.

The families and supporters of many of those who have died in police custody will be marching. We should also bring along others who have suffered brutality at the hands of police, whether through racist stop and search or being beaten up on a student demonstration. United we can bring change.

Over the next week we can spread the word through our campaign and community groups. Let's make this a march that the police can't ignore.

Join the Facebook group for the Campaign for Justice for Smiley Culture.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Birmingham public Meeting with families of Smiley Culture and Kingsley Brown

Details from

There have been 400 deaths in custody over the last 10 years. The families of Kingsley Brown and Smiley Culture are the latest to suffer tragic losses.

On Friday 8th April at the The African Caribbean Millenium Centre in Birmingham, both families united by their grief and sadness will demonstrate their determination to pursue justice. Both families will be speaking at this important public meeting alongside others.

Full line-up of speakers will include:

more to be announced…

The meeting will also discuss attendance at the national march for truth and justice for all victims of death in custody to be held on Saturday 16th April 2011 Wandsworth Road, London. This issue affects us all regardless of race, class colour or creed. Please help promote this meeting and remember no justice no peace.

For more information and to print posters visit: or join the Campaign for Justice 4 Smiley Culture on Facebook. “One Love One Aim One Destiny”

Event Details:

Friday 8th April at 6.30pm
The African Caribbean Millenium Centre, 339 Dudley Road, Winson Green, Birmingham.B18 4HB
Tel: 0121 455 6382 / Fax: 0121 454 5953

We issue a call for all communities to unite and mobilize for the demonstration for Truth and Justice to take place on the 16th April in London.

For enquiries contact:
Lee Jasper via | |

Friday, 25 March 2011

Ian Tomlinson inquest starts Monday

UPDATE: PC Simon Harwood will give evidence at the inquest tomorrow (4 April). The Ian Tomlinson Family Campaign invites people to attend in the public gallery to show their support.

The inquest into the death of Ian Tomlinson is due to start on Monday. The Ian Tomlinson Family Campaign welcomes supporters to attend from 9am in London.

This is from the campaign website. Visit the site to find more information.

The inquest into the death of Ian Tomlinson, who died during the G20 protests in 2009, will commence on Monday 28 March 2011 and is expected to last for of 5-6 weeks. It is expected to sit from Monday to Thursday from 10.00am – 4.00pm. The family welcomes supporters to attend.

An inquest is a legal investigation that is open to the public. Its purpose is to establish who the person was and where, when and how they died.

The inquest will be conducted by the Chief Coroner, Judge Peter Thornton QC, who replaces the City of London Coroner Paul Matthews. Hearings will take place at the International Dispute Resolution Centre at 70 Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 1EU.

First day

If you are attending on the first day it is recommended that you arrive at 9.00am.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Hundreds demand justice for Smiley Culture

Hundreds of people crammed into Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton, last night to demand justice for David Emmanuel, aka Smiley Culture.

A demonstration to New Scotland Yard from Wandsworth Road was announced by David's nephew, Merlin, for 16 April.

Merlin's speech electrified the audience. Check it out.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Campaign for Justice for Smiley Culture Public Meeting

Public meeting:

7pm, Thursday 24 March

Brixton Town Hall, Brixton Road, London SW2 1RW

Smiley Culture, aka David Emmanuel, died of a stab wound at his house on 15 March following a police raid.

The police claim that the fatal stab wound was self-inflicted. However, there are serious questions over this interpretation of events.

Emmanuel was not the first to die in police custody. We should stand in solidarity with his family and campaign together to find the truth.

Join the Facebook group for the campaign here:

Read coverage of Smiley Culture's death on the Independent and Guardian websites.

Press release and Official Statement from the Emmanuel Family in relation to the death of Smiley Culture aka David Emmanuel:

On behalf of the Emmanuel Family I would like to express our deep sorry and anger with the events that lead to the death of our beloved David. As a family we are in a state of shock and confusion and are determined to search for the truth of what happened on the morning of 15th March 2011 a day that will now be forever etched in our minds.

I would like to thank the thousands of people right across the world and here in Britain who have sent messages of support and condolences. These messages have been the source of great comfort and support and I thank all those who have expressed their condolences and support for the family at this most difficult time.

My uncle David Emanuel, otherwise known as Smiley Culture is now dead, he was, and is, a British Icon who died under the most peculiar and suspicious of circumstances.

Smiley Culture was a cultural ambassador a pioneer. There would be no Tinie Tempah’s or Chipmonks were it not for him, for he was the first to integrate, lyrically, the British dialect into modern urban music. Put simply, Smiley was the first, British, rapper celebrating our urban dialect.

His tragic death is not a black or white issue, although I am sure that his ethnicity has some relevance in this tragic event, no, this is an issue for all those who stand on for those fundamental principles that should be afforded to all human beings, truth, justice and equality for all.

This is not the time to hurl allegations or vent our emotions in a way that would damage our cause for justice. So, in that respect, my family and I urge restraint from those who would seek to vent their frustrations through violence and disaccord.

Rather, let us unite as a community, as a people, and let the Metropolitan Police and Government know, that in this time of great revolution and change, both at home and abroad, we, the common citizen will not stand idly by whilst our people die in the most bizarre of circumstances, that we will seek the truth, doggedly, determinedly and we not rest until that truth has been exposed.

So I call on you, the British public, to join us in this noble cause to seek truth and find justice, that the legacy of this great man will not be forever tainted, and that we might remember him for his achievements rather than lies, unproven allegations and conspiracy theories.

I can tell you that Smiley had a great deal to look forward to. It is true that he had an impending court case but it is also true that the evidence in relation to this case was non-existent and he, along with his legal team, were supremely confident of being acquitted this coming week.

Did you know Smiley was a successful international businessman trading gold, diamonds and other commodities, and was worth millions?

Did you also know that he worked with and enjoyed the support of businessmen, politicians and leaders from around the world?

Did you know he was working with the government of Azerbaijan? And had an investment portfolio that spanned Ghana, Uganda, Liberia, South Africa, India and beyond?

Knowing these truths and the circumstances under which he died, plus the fact that the case against him was void of any real evidence means both he and the family were confident, had he been tried he would have been acquitted. Smiley was confident and looking forward to clearing his name and we have no reason to believe that he would have taken his own life. We have every obligation to investigate, procure the facts, and expose untruths, wherever they may lie and we ask those committed to justice to join us in seeking the truth.

I would also urge the press to be responsible in their reports and coverage, in that, you must present the facts in a transparent and balanced fashion. We ask that you do not print unattributable anonymous comments form people hiding on the shadows of this case. Please do not sentence Smiley and condemn him before you have heard the facts. You have an obligation, as media, to remain neutral and unbiased. My family and I pray you have the courage to do so.

One dynamic in the midst of all this confusion that is irrefutably evident is. The police have a lot of critical questions to answer and until our questions, queries and suspicions have been fully and competently answered and we will not rest!

And to the powers that be, that govern this case, until that day you will not have a moment’s peace.

We are not that kind of family, we are not that kind of community and we are not that kind of nation. Justice must be done and be seen to be done. We know the road will be long and difficult but with the support of the people we can get to our destination. In the words of the great Rev Martin Luther King “The moral arch of the universe is long but it bends towards justice” To my dear departed Uncle rest in peace and be assured and take comfort that justice will be served. Thank You.

Monday, 7 March 2011

"It seemed as if the police could arrest people for just being there"

London’s Metropolitan Police have been accused of handing out an excessive number of cautions for aggravated trespass to students who took part in the 10 November protest against an increase in tuition fees, the scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance and other cuts to education.

The law firm Hodge Jones and Allen, who represent a “significant number” of students arrested in the protests, claim that the offence of aggravated trespass is easily committed and is "being used by the Met to criminalise people for exercising their right to protest".

"Conduct falling within the category of aggravated trespass can literally be anything that is potentially disruptive, such as playing a musical instrument," said Ruth Hamann, a lawyer for Hodge Jones and Allen.

Some 150 people were arrested over the course of the student protests, most of whom still await a police decision on their fate.

Hamann also voiced concern that the TUC demonstration on 26 March against public sector cuts, which is predicted to involve tens or hundreds of thousands of people, could see more arrests.

The Guardian reports one 20 year old student from Newcastle, Rees Johnson, as saying he would no longer attend protests out of fear of being arrested once again. "It seemed as if the police could arrest people for just being there," he told the Guardian. "If I found myself in trouble again, I wouldn't be entitled to a caution, so I won't be going to any more protests."

Full report in the Guardian here.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Stop police brutality in Cambridge

Campaigners in Cambridge have asked that people complain to Cambridgeshire Police Professional Standards Department after officers allegedly forced their way onto King's College to arrest a student and using pepper spray on him.

Here is the text of the letter, which explains events in more detail:

Dear Cambridgeshire Police Professional Standards Department,

I wish to complain about the conduct of a number of police officers as can be viewed in this video on the popular social media site youtube

The legal observer present reported the following.

At 17:45pm police entered King's College despite being told repeatedly by porters that they had not been authorised on the premisis. These officers were 1241, 1752, 4616, 1555 and 1241. They manhandled a student despite being continually told that they had no right to do so on college property. They then grabbed a sixth form student and tried to drag him away, officer 1241 used pepper spray in the sixth former's face about 10 seconds after saying "if you don't stop resisting you will get some of this". Officer 1555 and 4616 then pushed the sixth form student to the ground and 1555 wrapped his arm round his neck. When asked what the charges were the police initially hesitated to answer and then claimed it was for obstructing a police officer. Officer 2469 entered the college, without permission from the porters. The sixth former shouted "you are strangling me" and the porters and students continually stressed that the police were acting illegally. The police kept threatening the students standing around taking photos that they were also "obstructing". College fellows ran over and again told the police that they had no right to be on college grounds. The police ignored this and dragged the victims out of the college and put them in a van heading for Parkside Police Station.

I would like to complain that all officers present (1241, 1752, 4616, 1555 and 2469) entered the premises of Kings College illegally.

I would like to complain that officers 1241, 1752, 4616, 1555 used disproportionate force in dealing with citizens who were at the time not engaged in any unlawful activities.

I would like to complain that officer 1555 and 4616 used excessive force in restraining citizens who at the time were not involved in any illegal activities, in particular officer 1555 who appears to have employed a choke hold.

I would like to complain that officer 1241 used an incapacitant spray at a distance below the minimum safe recommended distance of 1 meter as described in ACPO Guidance on the use of Incapacitant Spray 04/11/10 Version 2 section 2.6.2

I would like to complain that officer 1241 used incapacitant spray in a situation that did not warrant the use of incapacitant spray this is a clear case of excessive force being used.

These issues are of grave concern and require immediate investigation to establish the parameters of the police operation undertaken at Kings College at 1745 on Thursday 24th February 2011. During the period of investigation I request that all the officers employed by the Cambridgeshire Constabulary mentioned in the above email text be suspended from active duties as their professional conduct is in question.

I also believe that the direct line manager / bronze commander of the operation in question should be suspended from active service as his or her judgment in ordering his or her officers to conduct themselves in this manner has been drawn into serious question.

I would also like to add that i was not present at the events in question

I have neither sought nor recieved consent written or otherwise from any persons involved in the incident

Please acknowledge this complaint by response

Insert Your name here

Please email this letter from yourself to