We’ve seen it all over the news.
An unarmed black man, shot, with his arms raised, the only reason being that the victim happened to look like a threat.
It’s the excuse that is shoved down our throats as we watch the news. That the police were doing their job, that they were scared for their lives, ironically, over a man who was’ fixing his car’.
The feeling of relief washes down on us as the news flickers in our eyes, relieved that black people in the UK do not have to deal with the fear of a possible death every time they leave their house.
But are we really free from Police brutality in the UK?
The only difference from potentially being a target everyday because of the colour of our skin, is that there’s less visibility in the mainstream media compared to the U.S.
Data from Britain’s largest police force showed unnecessary amount of force was used 139 times a day in London on average, or once every 10 minutes, with a disproportionate amount involving black people, yet most of the cases hardly ever make headlines.
Unsurprisingly, not known to many, cases of severe neglect and the use of force by the police date to the 60’s. In 1969, in Leeds, David Oluwale became the first known incident of racist profiling by the police, leading to his death. He was beaten with truncheons by two uniformed police officers and kicked him into the river after they had smashed him unconscious. His lifeless, bruised body was found in the river a few days later. On the directions of the judge, manslaughter charges were dropped during the trial. In 1985, during the Brixton riots, Police raided the home of Cherry Groce, searching for a suspected armed robber, Micheal Groce, whilst 3 of her 6 children were in the residence. As she looked to see what was going on, she was shot in the chest, leaving her paralysed. There was no disciplinary action taken against the police officer.
Amongst the many other cases, there’s Joy Gardner, a Jamaican mature student murdered in 1993 by wrapping tape around her head and died being unable to breathe, only because she was an undocumented migrant, in London. There’s Mark Duggan, who was shot by police and resulted in protests in Tottenham. In 2016, an Autistic teenager from Liverpool by the name Mzee Mohammed, was pinned to the ground by police and was later pronounced dead. All of which the police officers were acquitted for their crimes.
And to add salt to the wound, just a few days ago, 15 year old Terrell Decosta, from South Bermondsey, London, was stopped by police, claiming to have been involved in robbing a phone and was brutally beaten up, leaving him with a missing tooth, a broken gum and injury to the brain. He’s currently in critical care at the London hospital. He has no previous criminal record or any involvement with the police.
Imagine the people that are entrusted with serving citizens, are allowed to neglect them, especially a young boy, because they simply ‘fit the description.’
Police brutality is here, alive and kicking. We need to stay vigilant, keep our eyes peeled and stand up to any police injustice we hear about. For how long must this go on?