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.