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Deaths in Police Custody

Updated on August 19, 2014

Death in Police Custody Plus Policing of People of African Heritage

This lens explores the history of the relationship between the Black community and Metropolitan Police in London and other police forces around the UK.

It also looks at deaths in police custody and other police-related deaths of Black people, and incidents involving the policing of Black communities, in the U.S. and the UK.

Some of this information was previously published in the Nubiart Diary.

"Hands Up, Don't Shoot" Rally in NYC Following the Killing of Michael Brown - Ferguson, MO

Protesters in NYC chanted "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" in this rally protesting the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.

The 18-year-old was shot dead by police. Now there have been protests in London and several U.S. cities, including L.A, and San Francisco, and there has been rioting in Ferguson and St. Louis, Mo. The National Guard has been called out. Teargas has been used.

Reporters, from the Huffington Post and the Washington Post, were arrested by a SWAT team in a McDonald's in Ferguson,

The President has urged "calm reflection" and stated that "too many Black men are being left behind".

This video was posted by The BlackList.

"Hands Up, Don't Shoot" Rally in NYC following the Killing of Michael Brown.

This video was posted by The BlackList.

Eric Garner's Death Has Been Classed as a Homicide

It's Official: The Medical Examiner Has Ruled This as a Homicide

Many of us were shocked at the footage of the death of Eric Garner. While selling cigarettes illegally in Staten Island, he was arrested and detained by a police officer.

Handcuffed and lying on the ground, Garner repeatedly stated that he could not breathe. He subsequently died.

No one attempted to revive him, including the paramedics.

Now, finally, after multiple deaths of people of African heritage (and others) on both sides of the Atlantic, there may be a chance that justice is being done. At last. Finally.

The NYC medical examiner has stated that the way Garner was treated during his arrest caused his death.

Wow. At last. Maybe. Justice is being done.

Wrongfully Locked Up For Decades - Jerry Hartfield's Lawyers Say He is Wrongfully Imprisoned

Jerry Hartfield is an African American man whose lawyers say he has been wrongfully imprisoned.

He was convicted of murder in 1977, but the conviction was overturned three years later. Yet he is still in prison.

Plus wrongful convictions which have been overturned.

Mark Duggan Verdict

An inquest has reached a verdict of "lawful killing" in the death of Mark Duggan, an unarmed man who was shot dead by police.

The jury concluded that Duggan may have had a gun which he threw away just before he was shot dead by police. However, to quote from Nubiart Diary, "The gun was found 20ft away from Mark Duggan's body on the other side of a wall and fence. It was often reported as being between 3-6m away in order to make out that it was found near the body as if it had been dropped as Mark Duggan fell ... it has been revealed that the cab windows do not open so there was no way he could have thrown something of that size through the window".

The Duggan family are furious, and claim that he was "executed" by police officers.

According to Yahoo, one witness, who filmed the incident, has stated that Duggan did not have a gun at all, and that he had his hands up and was not behaving in a threatening manner.

There has been so much confusion, false information and misrepresentation in this case. The public were told that Mark Duggan shot at a police officer, then he didn't, then the gun in the car he was travelling in was a police gun - it did not belong to him.

The Guardian reports that even some police officers were surprised at the inquest verdict. The family have vowed to continue to fight for justice to be done.

No police officer in the UK has been prosecuted for killing a Black person since 1969.

Use of Cameras

When I interviewed Henry Bonsu in Black Success Stories, he suggested that young Black people should use their phones to film incidents involving the police. This has been happening for several years now. But these racist incidents continue to occur - they are caught on film. Now it ha been suggested that the police wear cameras. Will that change anything?

Black Success Stories.

Mark Duggan, Shot by Police
Mark Duggan, Shot by Police

The Killing of Mark Duggan

Nubiart Diary Editorial on the Killing of Mark Duggan

Should police officers who knowingly, willingly and deliberately peddle lies to the media, families and official investigators be evicted from their homes?

The consequences of those police lies over the shooting death of Mark Duggan, 29, on Thurs Aug 4 in Tottenham, north London, was four days of uprisings, lootings, arson and assaults. Alongside Mark Duggan another five people were killed in three other incidents: Trevor Ellis (Afrikan) in Croydon and Richard Mannington Bowes (European) in Ealing, both in London; and Haroon Jahan (Asian), Shahzad Ali (Asian) and Abdul Musavir (Asian) in Birmingham. Afrikan suspects have been arrested in all these cases. Yet no police officers have been arrested, suspended or even named over Mark Duggan's shooting. Instead we are told to wait six months for an inquiry by the IPCC (a police front organisation) that will be conducted in conjunction with police officers.

The IPCC have already admitted that, as usual, they automatically took the police line that Mark Duggan had fired at the police first, hitting a police radio, before he was shot by police. Forensics showed that the only gun fired was issued to the police. This means that a police officer shot Mark Duggan when he could have been arrested and then at the same time or soon afterwards as part of a pathetic cover-up shot into the radio and callously claimed that was a justification for Mark Duggan's killing.

Thus the police are ultimately responsible for the deaths, millions of pounds of damage, the injuries and the continuing breakdown of trust as their initial lies and unwillingness to address the concerns or even meet Mark Duggan's family for two days were the sparks that increased tension and frustration. Many of the criminal acts that followed may not have been committed by people directly concerned about Mark Duggan but enough people have their own experiences of police brutality and harassment, racism, social exclusion, poverty, cuts to education and services and alienation from the political and economic system.

Despite the consumerist tone of much of the reporting the uprisings were linked to a reawakening of pan-Afrikan political consciousness. There were signs of some 'scores being settled' with at least seven police stations attacked - five in Nottingham and one each at Handsworth in Birmingham and Toxteth in Liverpool. As many actions taking place on high streets and at stores full of surveillance cameras this has led to the arrest of nearly 3,000 suspects. This is unprecedented for any protest or uprising in Britain and reveals the malicious and punitive nature of the British state as it demonises Afrikans, youths and mothers. Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube postings and suspects' phones are now being mined by the police and submitted to the courts as incontrovertible evidence of criminality.

However, instead of all round condemnation of police racism and cover-up they have been the biggest beneficiaries of the unrest as politrickcians and media whores now say the police should clamp down harder on dissent and 'look-like criminals' even though they have just shot an Afrikan man dead and rushed to the media to denigrate him and heap more trauma on his already grieving family. Traditional British values at work!!!

We urge our readers to get copies of the following documents relating to the uprisings that we have been sent recently:

- Gus John's in-depth letter to the British government outlining causes and solutions.

- Ligali's recent 'Nyansapo' e-newsletters.

- Paul Ifayomi Grant's 'The Navig8r' e-newsletter.

- The National Black People's Parliament meeting agenda and reportbacks.

- Abyssinia 54's blog.

Why Black Children Can't Trust the Police

Excellent article on the dangers racist police cause to Black children (and adults).

Plus a link about Kalief Browder, who spent three years in New York's infamous Riker's Island prison when he had not been convicted and there was no evidence against him.

Police Arrest Black Man for Trespassing While Working - Trespassing at his Job

The police never cease to give us reasons for outrage.

This man has been given citations for trespassing more than 60 times - Just for being at work.

Police in Miami Gardens have arrested this man more than 60 times, just for being at work.

Police Officers Refuse to Appear Before the IPCC

IPCC Requests New Powers

The police officers involved in the Mark Duggan shooting have refused to be interviewed by the Independent Police Complaints Commission about the incident.

The officers have agreed to give a witness statement. BBC News reports that the IPCC has asked for new powers to force police officers to appear in front of it.

This follows the release of new footage of the aftermath of Mr. Duggan's shooting. This shooting, which proceeded last summer's riots up and down the country, is widely held to have been one of the causes of the rioting.

Death of Jason McPherson

On midweek Nubiart we started by covering the death in custody of 25-year-old Jason McPherson from west London which was reported in the Voice. The article 'Who Killed My Son' told his mother Sandra Richardson's story of how she heard him on his mobile phone being restrained by police. Less than two hours later he died in St Mary's Hospital, Paddington.

McPherson, an asthmatic, was stopped for 'looking like' he was engaged in criminal activity. 15 officers were involved in his arrest. His mother heard scuffling and then him saying, "Get off me, get off me - I can't breathe." She then heard another voice shouting "Spit it out, spit it out!" and then a third voice saying, "Make him sit up, make him stand up, he's dying." The phone then went dead.

Ms Richardson went out to look for him with McPherson's girlfriend but it was only when they came home did they get a message from the mother of one of Jason's friends that he was in hospital. By the time they got there he had already been pronounced dead having been transferred from Notting Hill police station to the hospital. When they asked to see his body the police refused and called armed police to prevent them. The police have refused to comment and have not confirmed that any drugs or stolen property were found on Mr McPherson. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) are investigating.

What is the name of the condition that Afrikans have that when they come into contact with the police anywhere in the world they can end up dead within two hours? The condition must have a name as other more rare killer diseases have names and people working to find a vaccine or antidote. Do Afrikans have thinner neck bones or spinal columns, weaker hearts, mammoth strength that requires extra force to subdue them as in 'she was the strongest person I have ever encountered in my 15 years of policing, your honour' as was said about 5ft 3in Joy Gardner. Why are members of other communities heavily involved in the drugs trade not dying at the same rate as Afrikans at the hands of the police?

We then gave a profile of Sekou Nkrumah, Chairman of the Pan-African Improvement Organization. He was born in Chicago , Illinois . He attended San Diego State University and graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science. He has helped to organize and participated in several African Liberation Day demonstrations in the African community throughout California , New York and Ghana , West Africa . He was one of the main organizers of the anti-apartheid movement in San Diego as a student in the mid 1980s, which brought student and community activist together. Sekou Nkrumah also sparked the name change of several Black Student Unions to African Student Unions in the 1980s on university campuses in the San Diego area.

He has visited several West African countries, and in 1986 he was part of a student delegation that visited the revolutionary country of Burkina Faso , and held meetings with President Thomas Sankara and top government officials. He also spoke before the U.N. Special Commission Against Apartheid as a representative of the All African People's Revolutionary Party and an invited guest of the Pan-Africanist Congress of Azania in 1991.

Throughout the 1990s he organized annual tours to Ghana encouraging Africans in America to repatriate. He founded and was the Executive Director of the Pan-African Institute of Technology, an organization dedicated to Pan-Africanism and building technical institutes for African youth throughout Africa . He is a former math teacher of Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn New York where he taught for 8 years. He organized the first Pan-African Conference for Education November 18, 2000 at Medger Evers College in Brooklyn , New York . Sekou Nkrumah is currently a writer and resident of Ghana , West Africa .

He has written for the Insight a Ghanaian based newspaper, and is the author of the book 'Repatriation and Pan-Africanism: The Suppression of Two Movements' (2nd edition), and soon to be released books 'The Historical Legacy of Ghana's Founding Father Kwame Nkrumah', and 'Africans Are At War: A Case Study and Historical Analysis for Revolution'. He is the Chairman of the People's Committee for the Ghana based Pan-African Improvement Organization an organization dedicated to the freedom of all African people and an All African Union Government.

We read his article, 'White Supremacy Prevents Africans From Being American Pts 1,2&3'. Nubiart will be playing an in-depth interview and Q&A with Sekou Nkrumah over the coming fortnight.

Firefighter Attacked by Police Officers

Policing of the African Caribbean Community

Firefighter Edric Kennedy-Macfoy was attacked by police officers, it has been widely reported.

Mr. Kennedy-Macfory has said in a complaint of racism against six white Metropolitan Police officers that he saw a member of the public throw a rock at police officers.

When he went to the assistance of the officers, they set upon him and beat him in an alleged racist attack which he has described as behaving "like animals". In the course of the attack, he was shot with a taser.

Interview with Toyin of Ligali Afrikan media monitoring project.

Is British TV promoting pro-slavery and colonialist views?

We started weekend Nubiart with Afrikan Worldview News Service covering the following stories: 'Somali Civilians and Ethiopian Soldier Killed in Somalia'; '60 Dead In Guinea Strike'; 'UK Home Office Admits Breaking Law on Child Asylum Seekers'; 'Rochelle Killer Loses Appeal'; and 'Street Children Raid WSF Food Tent, Glover Supports Civil Society'.

We then interviewed Toyin and Emma from Ligali, the media monitoring project, about recent news stories concerning Afrikans in the UK . We looked at Channel 4's continued promotion of racist pro-slavery programming, (such as Big Brother and Shipwrecked), in a cynical attempt to boost ratings. Coming alongside the alleged Bi-centenary of the British abolition of the slave trade, Toyin felt that there was a plan to only refer to Afrikans in relation to slavery making that the only part of our history that people know. While Ligali did not support censorship of views, they felt Channel 4 was being deliberately provocative and offensive while not being responsible enough to discuss issues properly.

Kubara felt that Channel 4 had not stuck to its founding remit and has therefore been unable to cover racism in a sensible way since they got rid of programmes like 'Bandung File' many years ago. The domination of 'non-reality' heavily edited programmes (eg 12 contestants x 24 hours a day = 288 hours of life reduced to one hour.) by all channels while generating revenue cannot explore or resolve conflicts while pushing people into psychologically compromising situations. Toyin blamed the advertisers, stations and OFCOM, the regulator, for combining to allow these programmes to be broadcast with few, if any, sanctions for overstepping the mark.

Wilberforce Did Not End Slavery

Toyin highlighted a recent meeting he attended where Hakim Adi asked the organizers of all these Wilberforce 2007 events who decided 1807 was significant when it did not come from the Afrikan grassroots. Kubara mentioned a recent article which shows that slavery was not officially abolished in the British 'Empire' until 1928 in Sierra Leone and even then it was against much British resistance at the League of Nations . The British were also still trading with slave trading countries such as Portugal, which did not officially abolish enslavement until 1888. Although there are over 40 events in the official celebrations none cover Afrikan resistance to enslavement both in Afrikan states that outlawed slavery before the British or on the plantations and mansion houses where Afrikans worked.

See also, African People's Self-Liberation.

The Legacy of Slavery and Colonisation

On Britishness and 'British values' being taught in schools, Emma felt that while the British like to claim they are tolerant and interested in fair play facing the reality of their history will create problems for their psyche. Toyin pointed out how new immigration legislation will make it obligatory for non-Europeans to have biometric passports, although the legislation says it is for non-EEA people anybody not looking European will be regularly asked to prove their British citizenship, in effect apartheid-style pass laws. He felt Gordon Brown, the chancellor, was saying how do we assimilate those who do not adhere to our core values and PM Tony Blair is saying how do we eject those who do not adhere to those core values.

Toyin pointed out that in all the talk of Britishness, there is no linking of it to human rights, equality, justice and opportunity for all which is at the core of non-European cultures - the idea that people are humans and have a humanity. He pointed out that criminality can be promoted and the rule of law suppressed where British money is concerned, such as in the British Aerospace case or where convicted paedophiles and child pornographers can avoid going to prison.

While enslavement was formally outlawed racism and colonialism and imperialism continues to impact Afrikans. One example was the Ministry of Defence's rejection of rape claims against British soldiers brought by Kenyan women. Over 70 children, ranging in age from 3 to over 40, have been born from this causing the women to be shunned by their communities because of the stigma. The MoD claimed the women were prostitutes who willingly had sex with their soldiers. No expressions of shame or concern came from any member of the British establishment. Toyin pointed out that this not speaking out against injustice is not 'tolerance' but moral cowardice as they don't want to be involved in changing the political and economic situation from which they derive their power.

See also, Kenya's Colonial Past.

Emma summed up British values as aggression, lack of tolerance, lack of accountability, lack of conscience and a lack of justice. The adoption of British values is putting the Afrikan community in Britain deeper in to crisis. The heavy-handed retaliation to petty infringements by Britain allows the youth to justify their violent overreactions and random killings with no conscience to slights by pointing out that that is how things are done here. This conflicts with Afrikan concepts of justice, balance and reparations. Kubara pointed out that the lack of appropriate problem-solving skills in British adults will manifest in any youth who adopts British culture and values. Toyin said, "You can't talk about their philosophers if they're still agreeing with empire." They want to be seen as James Bond but in reality they're Benny Hill.

Ligali are against linking modern people trafficking with the chattel enslavement of Afrikans. Toyin felt this will allow the government to set the agenda and avoid addressing Afrikans' historical grievances. There has been a 2 coin minted with a set of chains on which can be bought for 7 and the Royal Mail has put out a set of stamps which do not include Nanny, Paul Bogle, Sam Sharpe, Boukman Dutty, etc. Jamaica is not taking part in the British events but will focus on the resistance to enslavement. Ligali is bringing out a video in March about positive things Afrikans are doing in Britain . Their Afrikan Remembrance Day will be in August this year. They are also promoting the Truth 2007 coalition.

In December, Yinka and Michael Oluyemi were convicted and fined 70,000. In November Hassan Akhtar his wife Nasira and son, Mubashir were fined a total of 51,000 for selling illegal and harmful skin-bleaching and whitening creams. Emma highlighted the Asian involvement in profiting from the sale of these carcinogenic products although only one Asian called in to a BBC London show on the issue.

Toyin pointed out that Michael Jackson, when he was the most wealthy Afrikan on the planet, used his money to whiten himself highlights the lack of confidence Afrikans have and the hierarchy of skin colour.

Emma felt it was the same issue as chemically straightened hair but that we need to do our best to educate people and not just write them off. We need to generate our own media that is at ease showing images of dark brown-skinned Afrikans as being beautiful. The Jamaican Ministry of Health has announce that it will ban the creams which are increasingly being used by women and men. Kubara said having 40-ft billboards of a white Jesus / God was part of the problem in Afrika. Along with the belief in the superiority of the white boss / overseer. Toyin ended by saying there was a need for education and self-reparations.

Ligali can be contacted at: www.ligali.org or: www.operationtruth2007.co.uk

Kimani Gray Protests - Similarities with the Killing of Mark Duggan

Another killing by the police. When are they going to stop killing our people?

There are similarities between the deaths of Mark Duggan (see above) and Kimani Gray.

Demonstrations and Rioting following the Killing of Kimani Gray

When they can broadcast these types of images, it distracts from the issue at hand.

For similarities between the killings of Kimani Gray and Mark Duggan, see above.

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    • profile image

      thepowerinmore 5 years ago

      Yes, I remember this very well. I agree, this is indeed a great lens!

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      Zhana 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks very much for you comment.

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      Wow!

      I like your lens, very useful and inspiring. thank you.

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