Saturday, 25 January 2014

Boycott The Police Until They Acknowledge They're Institutionally Racist

Here is the full video. broadcast of the recent Lambeth Police Consultative Group meeting held on Thursday 23rd of January 2014 that took place at the Karibu Community Education  Centre Gresham Road Brixton , Lambeth , London.

The meeting was called in response to recent Mark Duggan Inquest verdict that concluded that Mark was lawfully killed but in a perverse twist of logic, further determined that Mark was not in possession of a gun, despite the evidence of the Police Officer who shot him, who told the court that as Duggan spun to face him, described as a " freeze frame " moment he was staring down the barrel of a gun.

The verdict has widely but not universally been condemned as " perverse " and the implications for British policing are profound. In short a police officer can, according to this verdict, lawfully shoot anyone as long as he has a reasonably held belief that the individual is carrying a gun.

Set against the context of a Metropolitan Police Service that has, since the Commissioners and the Mayor of London' s bizarre conclusion that the MPS are no longer an institutionally racist organisation,  witnessed the rampant return of unchecked institutionalised racism, that has produced increased levels of a range of racial inequalities.

For example huge increases in the use of Stop & Search, increases in race complaints about officers, racism in the charging of black and white first time offenders that taken together demonstrates conclusively that the MPS is directly falsely criminalising London black communities in a profoundly unjust and deeply oppressive manner.

I am of the opinion that we now need to boycott any Police Service that does not accept that reality of institutional racism and agrees to work in partnerships with communities to rid themselves of this disease. Partnership mean genuine accountable representation from communities, not hand picked nodding dog negroes.

This demand must be elevated to a national priority if we are to stem the precipitous political decline of the priority accorded to equality and anti racism. My thoughts are as follows;

  • To end all non essential contact with Police Services that do not, publicly and formally except that they are a institutional racist organisation.
  • To call a national boycott of all black police recruitment to the police and until such time.
  • To publicly challenge anyone individual or organisation that seeks to work with the police whilst they refuse to accept the reality of institutional racism.

My rationale is that until the Police accepting they remain a racist organisation then we are likely to see;more racist policing incidents,
  • more suspicious deaths in custody, 
  • more disproportionate use of Tasers on black people, 
  • more black people being unjustly charged when they should be cautioned, 
  • more black officers leaving the force than joining and as a result 
  • more likely to see further explosions of violence on our streets sparked by any number of possible catalyst trigger policing incidents.

Better a boycott now than riots later.

So I intend to argue this case urging a national policing boycott to prevent the further criminalisation of our children, secure a drastic reduction in the number of all suspicious deaths in police custody, curtail the oppressive use of Stop and Search and the discriminatory use of all policing powers, and argie for radical changes to the the policing discipline regulations to sack racist officers.

I hope you will work with me to secure decent future for all our children.

Lambeth Police Consultative Group

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Colourful Radio Deaths In Custody Special

You may be interested to know that I have a breakfast radio show on Colourful Radio 7am to 10am. Here is my latest podcast for my latest show where I interview lots of people including the Police on the Mark Duggan verdict.

This forms a part of a series, of in-depth analysis of issues that affect our community that we will be exploring in the coming months, culminating in a national conference to take place later in the year.

Forgive my amateur performance I promise I will get better. Hope you find the show informative.

Yours In Struggle

#StateOfBlackBritain: Death In Custody show on @colourfulradio is now available!

Dr Martin Luther King : A Man of Action, Not Self Serving Sermons.

Dr King Marching For Jobs and Justice. 
Today would have been the 85th birthday of Dr Martin Luther King, the global icon for the struggle for  equality human rights and justice.

In these neoliberal time there has been a determined effort to repackage Dr King and his legacy and represent him as a nothing more that a non threatening negroe.

Such is the power of this transformation, that right wing politicians have no problem embracing what they see as Kings message of racial equality and non violence. Whilst they focus on these fundamental principles, they conveniently forget the reality of Dr Kings profound message of economic justice, his opposition to the Vietnam war and his demand for economic reparations for African Americans.

This is the radical  Dr King they don't want you to see .  The question for our modern day clergy today is why have none of our religious leaders here in the UK, particularly in the Black Church movement  taken up the mantle of Dr King?

Too many Churches have become a businesses rather than a movement of faith for justice and equality .

Despite the increase in racism and discrimination here in the UK, we rarely see the massive organisational capacity of the black Church used to challenge racism and injustice. Whilst much good work is done in meeting the pastoral needs of their congregations, this alone cannot address the root cause of our continued poverty and discrimination.

Nor can blind faith in the free market and capitalism. It is my faith, for I am a man of faith, inspired by Dr King, that the injustices and evils  of poverty, ignorance, discrimination and war must be opposed.

To many of our Church leaders compete with each other to try and secure the biggest share of the black Christian market. Many of our Pastors  today, have become more like CEO's of multi million pound industries, competeing with one another at the expense of securing radical and fundamental political reforms, capable of easing the acute economic injustice faced by many in our communities,

As the austerity crisis deepens and the Government pursues policies that reward the rich and punishes the poor ,with an almost evangelical zeal, the Black church remains silent on our suffering. Content, as many of them are, with making serious money and the acquisition of new churches.  Too many of our Churches have become inured into Capitalism and stand in spectacular awe of money, worshiping graviliscouly at the altar of the Mammon

Their reluctance too engage with politics remained today just as it did in the time of Dr King. His  famous Letter From A Birmingham Jail was a response and a rebuke to pastors who had wrote a letter opposing his visit to Birmingham Alabama. Their letter accused Dr King of being an opportunist rabble rouser  rouble rouser, a radical and a dangerous extremist. This is the tradition and culture I see dominating too many of our Black Churches in Britain today. I see quiet compliance with the status qou and lazy interpretation of biblical scripture that witnesses the suffering of our people with a callous indifference camouflaged behind a misinterpretation of the bible into the adoration of Capitalism and the predatory and destructive free market.

Meanwhile Black communities and poor whites in Britain become further immisrated, unjustly criminalised, economically vandalised and whose children now look out  onto the bleak desolate horizon of a future, destroyed by complacency, blighted by the sheer greed and apathy of their parents generation.

Racism and economic injustice are getting worse. 60% Black youth unemployment, black woman forced into mass redundancies in the public sector, increases in higher education fees that leave our young people excluded form opportunity and a criminal justice system infected with a culture of  institutionalised racism that has, in recent years seen a huge increase in the return of criminalisation of large sections of our communities and a huge rise in deaths in custody.  Justice before the law as equal citizens in Britain today is an illusion dependant which school you went to your ethnicity and class.

The fight against austerity is a fight against economic tyranny and injustice and just as Dr King recognised the importance of making alliances with between African Americans suffering Jim Crow racism and poor whites suffering poverty wages, so must the Black Church begin to reach out and adopt a progressive agenda for social and economic justice.

Minimally all Churches could embark upon a mass voter registration campaign that would have the immediate consequence of increasing the political pressure on MP's to come to the negotiating table on these issues,  before a single vote is cast.

Rising voter registration roll's would  mortify local councils and Government in the run up to the next general election, but to be successful, that work must start now.

Politicians rely on the fact that the poorest section of our communities don't vote. They build this into their political calculations allowing them to patronise the poor and reward the rich

To secure a future for all our children the Church must act and act now. This is the dream of Dr King , the example of Christ himself in throwing the money lenders from the temple. Christ was a revolutionary and so was Dr King.

The war of economic injustice rages and the tragic casualties of the poor, the vulnerable and the excluded mount up in terrifying numbers and with the most dreadful consequences. As we pray on our knees we see our children's futures being eviscerated by those in power. Any people who are morally ambivalent in the face of such injustice are as guilty as those who perpetrate econmic violence on the poor.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Sky news debate on Mark Duggan

I found the comments of this former firearms office and the presenter in part were in complete denial about the reality of racism.  Its was a as they say robust debate.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Mark Duggan verdict: We either fight the good fight or our children die.

Wednesday was a cold wet windy day in London, it was the kind of day where people scuttle hurriedly with purpose, through shimmering grey damped streets. A day when peoples coats were hermetically sealed around them, when the wind whipped by in sudden squalls. Just another day in London city.

This was no ordinary winter’s day however.  England, had what I would call its ‘Rodney King’ moment as we witnessed the conclusion of a three month inquiry into the shooting of Mark Duggan by Operation Trident Metropolitan Police Officers.

An inquest jury considered whether the 29-year-old Tottenham father was lawfully or unlawfully killed when he was shot dead in Ferry Lane, Tottenham Hale, on August 4, 2011.  

The jury sat through three months of evidence and pondered for five long tense days, punctuated by the Christmas break, and considered whether Mark Duggan a 29-year-old Tottenham father was lawfully or unlawfully killed when he was shot dead in Ferry Lane, Tottenham Hale, on August 4, 2011.

No ordinary day January 8th will be remembered as the day when yet again British justice failed a black community.

The 10-strong jury of three men and seven women delivered a confused verdict that many people have simply failed to understand.

They concluded that there was no case to answer and despite what the inquest coroner Judge Cutler called ‘stark inconsistencies’ in police evidence, they concluded Mark Duggan had not had a gun in his hand when he left that fateful mini cab after being subject to a ‘hard stop’ by the London anti-gang unit Trident, they decided despite this Mark Duggan had been ‘lawfully killed ‘
When the decision was announced all hell broke loose as the pent up anger, frustration, tension, grief and sadness spilled both inside and out of the Royal Courts of Justice.
There were huge discrepancies in the police version of events Judge Keith Cutler made a point of highlighting these stark inconsistencies’ during his summing up of the at 12-week hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in December last year .
He pointed out that the evidence of a Met Police Sergeant who was the operational firearms commander and tactical advisor in Duggan’s arrest team appeared to be “directing officers to go and secure a gun which hadn’t yet been found”.
In statements made in the aftermath of the shooting, the same officer said he had asked another officer, to look for the gun. However this was undermined by other evidence, from three armed PCs who arrived on scene shortly after the shooting of Mark Duggan. All, including the supervising Sergeant, later gave statements saying another senior officer directed them to the gun and instructed them to secure it.
However in damming evidence seen by the jury, a witness’s video footage clearly shows the gun being found only after the three PCs first speak to the Sergeant. At the time of Marks death many suspected the Metropolitan police had in fact planted the gun at the scene to justify his shooting. This evidence gives those views further credence.
However without this crucial video evidence the Jury would have no doubt simply accepted the Police version of events as the truth. The fact is Police officers involved lied.
This verdict also signals the death of Operation Trident a subject I have written extensively, you can read more here . The fact is that the credibility Operation Trident used to enjoy has long gone and the unit should now simply be disbanded. Its reputation has become toxic as a result Mark Duggan’s killing .
Judge Cutler told the jury during his summing in December that “Without that BBC footage that would have been completely accepted and we would not be talking about it,” “Everyone might have felt quite secure about that account if it hadn’t been for Witness B. He added “It is not a question of anybody being mistaken. It is something which is a direct contradiction here; there is that stark problem.”
More than one officer s told the inquest that they had found the gun. Judge Cutler said: “There’s a lot of people finding the gun but not telling anybody else about it.”
The suggestion that Mark Duggan threw the gun into some nearby bushes is inexplicable and irrational. All eleven officers who gave evidence never saw Duggan dispose of the gun, there was no forensic evidence to support his association with the gun, none of the independent witnesses saw him throw a gun and yet a weapon was found some 20 feet away and without a shred of evidence the jury concluded that Duggan had somehow disposed of the gun prior to his arrest.
Judge Cutler also reminded jurors that while tests showed it was possible to throw the gun into the bushes from where Mr Duggan was shot, one medical expert had told them he would have needed “great willpower” to do so having just been shot in that arm, and that the theory didn’t really tie in with witnesses’ accounts.
In 2011 the reaction to the shooting of Mark Duggan was to spark disturbances right across the country as anger against the police exploded onto the streets. Of course there were those criminal element who were intent on looting and looting alone.

However the Guardian’s Reading the Riots report explained that the simplistic dismissal of the events of August 1th 2011 as simply criminally motivated as described by the Prime Minister David Cameron is factually wrong. This deep alienation born of police harassment and economic exclusion provides the rational for the tragic events that unfolded
Their report pointed to the widespread anger and dissatisfaction of many young people with the roughhouse policing including stop and search, a basic lack of respect from officers.
 It’s reputation has become toxic as a result and mirrors the on-going reputational decline of the Metropolitan Police Service.
There is a link between these contemporary issues and black people’s historical experience of oppression. As a result we are hyper sensitive to the treatment of black people at the hands of statutory authorities be it the police, schools or mental health institutions. Our history is replete with a constant stream of injustice and tragedy. Our deepest fears, generated by our own history is to die brutally at the hands of the police. Our latent fear is informed by our experiencing of lynching, racist murders and police brutality. 
You see some us believe that we have never had any real acknowledgement,  apology or reparations for slavery that such things could happen again
Deaths in police custody represents the critical fault line in the relations between police and black communities. The fact is these controversial deaths have increased in recent years in London rising from four deaths in 2008 to sixteen in 2012, according to figures published by the Metropolitan Police.
This palpable fear and anger is not well understood by some white people who don’t understand the cultural symbolism of such events. The very people who are charged with protecting our communities become feared as a violent oppressive force of occupation.

Institutional racism has become rampant and endemic as a result of a changes in the political environment. Since the Coalition and Government came to power the restraining influence of a series of monitoring policy frameworks and the political priority accorded to race equality has been swept away and as a result the police have returned to their natural cultural default setting of open hostility to black people.
The Home Secretary, the  Mayor Boris Johnson and Commissioner Hogan Howe must stop denying the reality of institutional racism that leads to so many black people being criminalised and disproportionately abused, attacked and beaten by police officers steeped in a culture of racism. The elite armed response unit SO19 is no different in this regard to Police Constables who routinely discriminate against black people on a daily basis as evidenced by stop and search figures and disproportionate charging rates for black and white first time offenders.
I believe that too many Police officers see black people differently to whites and racial bias leads them to assume a threat where non exits. We are routinely considered to be criminals, psychotics, super bad bordering on evil.
This racial bias of specialist firearms officers leads to a false perception of increased threat, which in turn leads to the use of overwhelming force being used by frightened police officers.
That’s why black people suffer more violent rates of arrests, are more likely to be tasered by the police and sometimes face overwhelming and deadly force.
In a multicultural city like London a majority white police service should routinely test officers for levels of racial bias and specifically assess whether racist attitudes or unconscious bias leads to perceptions of increased threat when the subject is black.
Politicians of all parties must now accept or be forced to confront the real and growing crisis of confidence that exists between black communities and the Metropolitan Police.
The Association of Chief Police Officer’s and the Home Secretary must also  accept that there is an urgent need to restore the confidence of black communities in British policing or we can expect further disturbance in the future.
No dialogue aimed at improving trust and confidence and building community police partnerships can be effective, or have any credibility if the reality of institutionalised racism is not accepted by Government and the Mayor Boris Johnson. That should be our key starting point for any discussions. Such is the depth of the crisis and the level of political resistance to reinstating institutional racism as a key priority that nothing short of a national boycott on working with the police stands a chance of changing things for the better. A 12 month boycott on all but essential discussion and an all-out national boycott on black police recruitment will bring all parties to the negotiating table. Anything else is simply window dressing and waiting for the next crisis. It’s time to take a stand.
 Unfortunately both police and politicians deny the existence of endemic institutional racism and until the political discomfort and pain of holding that position becomes so great as to become intolerable, then they will not change their ideological Tory view that racism is nothing more than ‘politically correctness gone mad’ or plain old ‘Marxist lunacy’
That political blind spot cost the country hundreds of millions of pounds as a consequence of the disturbances of 201, all of which could have been avoided if the lessons learned after the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence were applied. Instead they were swept away by Tories and senior police officers whose political antagonism to anti-racism became so engrained that some would physically wretch at the mention of the very words ‘anti-racism’ or ‘multiculturalism’.
Government and the Mayor need to reprioritise the issue of racism in policing as an urgent issue if we are to avoid a further descent into deep seated animosity and a Northern Ireland type policing scenario. I can see, in a few years’ time, if this issue is not urgently addressed quickly how Police could find themselves being actively targeted as the ‘enemy’ and subject to violent and deadly retribution. It’s simply not a road we can afford to go down. We’re not there yet but we’re perilously close if someone does not wake up and smell the coffee.
Challenges don’t exist for the Police and politicians alone. The Independent Police Complaints Commission must now begin the process of restoring its reputation after it became clear that they had colluded with the Metropolitan Police in putting out misinformation, in the immediate wake of the shooting, suggesting Mark had shot at police officers. This turned out to be a lie.
Whilst the jury perverse verdict leaves everybody angry and confused, the reality is, that real world public perception, particularly within black communities is that the ‘police executed Mark Duggan’.
My community is seething with resentment and in danger of exploding with anger at the ongoing continued mass criminalisation, harassment and violence they receive at the hand of the police.
Racial profiling, stop and search, racist police officers and a criminal justice system that reeks of institutional racism and injustice provide the fuel for this profound discontentment.
 It’s time we returned to the anti-racist battlefield to secure the future for our children.

We at Colourful Radio  believe that this is an extremely important issue for our communities and as such I would like to invite you listen and join in my live breakfast show on Friday 10th January between 7 and 10 am.  

As you know these issue rarely get the proper coverage from mainstream news outlets and in response to that we have decided that our entire programme will be dedicated to this important issue.  We need you support to make sure the programme is a resounding success.

So this week on my show we will be focusing exclusively on deaths in custody, the implications of the Mark Duggan inquest verdict for the entirety of the programme. 

I will be joined in the studio by my co presenter Dr X and by Matilda Macattram of Black Mental Health UK, Samanath Rigg sister of Sean Rigg Janet Hills Chair of Met Black police Association, Hillsborough Justice Campaign, Peter Herbert Chair of Society of Black lawyers .Deborah Coles from Inquest , Assistant Commissioner Rowley of the Met Police and many many more. 

Stop Press: The Mark Duggan family have called for a peaceful mass demonstration Saturday 11th Jan 2pm Tottenham Police Station.

Manchester's Moss Side Carnival in Turmoil

PRESS RELEASE - Concerns grow over Caribbean Carnival of Manchester announcement that the carnival will not be hosted in Alexander Park again this year. 

Manchester’s African Caribbean Community are up in arms after it was announced the annual Moss Side carnival will be moved to Platt fields Park, Fallowfield for the 2nd year running and reduced in scale through lack of funding despite promises by the committee that the move would only be for one year while Alexandra Park was refurbished. Moves are now afoot to oust committee members believed to be responsible for failing to secure Alexandra Park and funding from the arts council.
The AGM to be held on Tuesday 14th January at 6.30 at the Phil Martin Centre promises to be a very lively affair with the community seeking answers to why carnival, the heartbeat of the Caribbean community, has been transplanted elsewhere.   It is feared this could be a drain on the spirit and the economic life blood of an already disadvantaged area pushing even more economic activity towards the more affluent Wilmslow Road. The delights and spectacle of Caribbean carnival has its roots firmly fixed in Manchester’s African Caribbean Community and has been taking place in Alexandra Park for over 40 years.
The community are voicing concerns that they are not at all pleased with the whole affair of how the issue of the park has been handled and communicated. Many locals were not aware of the move and missed the carnival. There have been calls that a new management team is needed who can give assurances that the carnival will return to Alexander Park as soon as the refurbishment is complete as confidence has been lost in the current Chair.
Akeim Mundell, recently made young ambassador, who has put his name forward to become a member of the Carnival committee, said  ‘last year we were given assurances that the change of venue would only be for one year but it seems that is not the case. It is important that the carnival returns to Alex Park as the carnival is an asset which goes towards a sense of ownership for the community and it is definitely a time where we all come together to celebrate’.
Colette Williams, community activist, says that concerns over the carnival are not just restricted to the issue of location. The carnival was tremendously scaled down last year. This is a clear indication that something is not quite right about how the carnival is being run and we need a new management team to rectify this and get on a course to ensure that Manchester returns to hosting carnivals on the scale which took place when Manchester hosted the Commonwealth Games.
Jeff McDonald who is putting himself forward as the new chair said, ‘Carnival has always been very important to the community as it allows for the retaining of culture and allows for the link to remain between the generations. Furthermore, it is imperative that we pass onto our future generations’ skills and a legacy. Carnival is the ideal mechanism to realise the potential of young people and they should be given every opportunity to develop their initiatives and involvement. This can only be achieved if the committee have a clear plan and implement such aspects as skills development, promotions, trading and job creation’.
Jeff concludes by saying Manchester is a vibrant city, some would say the UKs second city, and our carnival should reflect that status.

Colette Williams                     07984 359 894

Jeff McDonald                                       07708 072 000

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Colourful Radio State of Black Britain Debate

Happy New Year you beautiful intelligent, dynamic people ! Yes thats you I'm talking too! 

2014 is a kick ass year and we're hitting the ground running. 

I now host my breakfast show on Britain's one and only black owned, commercial digital radio station #ColourfulRadio where the famous Dr X London's Ghettologist and I will bringing a grassroots perspective to news and politics.

To start the 2014 with a bang we are doing something unprecedented in UK black radio history .

Tomorrow morning between 7 and 10 am we will be discussing the State of Black Britain with reports coming in from towns and cities right across the country.

We will talk about how our communities are faring locally and nationwide, focussing on on going issues, challenges and importantly areas opportunity and successes.

Taking your reflection on 2013 reflections;

Discussing local issues that are affecting our communities
The the top five things our community must do in 2014.

We will also be interested to hear your views on whether Colourful Radio should organise and host a State of Black Britain debate in 2014.

Please use your Facebook and Twitter accounts today to publicise using both #StateOfBlackBritain, @ColourfulRadio and @LeeJasper in your promotion.We would be grateful if you could share and share. It's all about U. Your Music. Your Voice.