Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Black Youths Get Battered by Manchester Police.

Both here and in the United States, there is a crisis of confidence between the institutions of law-enforcement, criminal justice and principally, but not exclusively Black and Muslim communities The nature and scale of this crisis differs around the world, but the underlying issues seem remarkably consistent.  In America you're much more likely to be shot and killed by armed police officer.

In the UK, thankfully, while the numbers of black deaths in police custody are no where near the levels of those in the United States. Nonetheless, when one begins to look at deaths in statutory custody here in UK, the number of Black deaths remains hugely disproportionate.

Add to this the numbers of black deaths in asylum and immigration detention centres, mental health hospitals, prisons, young offender institutions and prisons or as deported migrants who die in transit, and the true scale and size of the problem begins to emerge.

The fact is, there is a culture of violence in law enforcement and policing, here in the United Kingdom and the United States. Violent arrests and injury are common place. Death in custody, aggressive policing and racial profiling combine, in a toxic mix of systemic institutionalised racism that degrades and destroys black people's lives, conspires to lie, criminalise, incarcerate, maim and murder with the total impunity that only white privileges confers.

Take this case where a group of black and white boys are in a McDonalds restaurant in Ardwick, Manchester. This incident took place on Tuesday evening on the 5th April.  Here we see a 15-year-old young black boy targeted by Greater Manchester Police officers who manhandled him, forcing the child to the floor, handcuffed and restrained him.  His family have responded by reporting the incident to the police.

The response from the police was too present an account of the incident despite at this point not viewing any CCTV, in an attempt to mitigate the officers conduct this matter is so serious that the family have instructed a legal team.         

Young People from the Hideaway Youth Project are currently in the planning stages of an Everyday Racism Project initiated from their everyday lives. They are attempting to address social inequalities they face in the UK following work with US Black Lives Matter movement. The group, newly named Young Leaders are developing a video and clothing range in partnership with Odd Arts and Manni Clothing funded by Moss Care Housing and MCC respectively.

The project involves researching the history of oppression against people of colour and looking at the impact left by the legacy of Slavery as well as the manifestation of racism in today's society.  The documentary is possibly going to consist of social experiments, interviews and covert filming to give the viewer some concept of the barriers and prejudice they face daily.  A key element of the video will be the criminalisation of young black men who face a range of injustices within the criminal justice system which starts as soon as they go to secondary school.
'I'm involved because I believe and feel people need educating on the topic as I think the majority don't actually understand what there doing or see the issue as perhaps they have been bought up and educated that way. Also racist stereotypes are all around on the social media especially among us young people.' JAI

'I'm involved because I want to see equality every where I go.' CHE

'It's a topic that I'm very passionate about, and I think a lot more people need educating and maybe if they hear it from young people the message will be more effective' SADE

'I am involved in the everyday racism video because awareness of this topic is one step closer towards equality.' SHILOH

Some of the young people from the Hideaway, Moss Side made a video about Stop and Search which was supported by GMP in the Summer of 2015. Recently young people who participated in the making of the film have been taunted and harassed about their involvement by undercover officers in unmarked cars.

These are routine of incidents. Racism is routine and when viewed from a Black historical perspective of unremitting police violence, racial profiling, racist charging and prosecution,  producing mass criminalisation of communities, explains the police are viewed with cynicism, suspicion and anger. 

Such realities, lead to plummeting levels of trust and confidence, deep cynicism and ultimately civil disturbance.

These are precisely the type of 'symbolic' incidents that can spark community anger. In this context black communities, tired with perennial white denials of racism are have become like dry tinder, bone dry straw, racist policing is the spark that will result in an inferno.

With see evidence of that that in the development of the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the United
States. Here in United Kingdom we have a long tradition of resisting police racism and challenging injustice most notably Stephen Lawrence, but there are so many cases one could site that demonstrate the point not least the most recent tragic cases of Sarah Reed and Sheku Bayoh. 

Here is another example of the on whelming please brutality face by young people in the United States. You can see the similarities between the two cases, a sort of overarching culture of white privilege and police brutality that has transcended geography. 

I thought it interesting that these two videos almost appeared simultaneously and both have attracted huge attention on social media.

There is a emergent need to ensure the development of relationships between the black lives matter movement in the United States and organisations such as Barac and Blaksox here in the United Kingdom. We need to deepen and broaden our relationships, we need to become like family, we need to end the dislocation and isolation of our struggles in an effort to confront the same issue. White supremacy, systemic and institutionalise racism and all of its effects.

The racists and their institutions share a common culture can be seen on the streets of Manchester or indeed the Bronx. We need to become international activists to combat an international problem. I will be writing more about the Manchester incident in the days to come and they're already emerging some interesting details about this case. Stay united, stay a awake, stay tuned.

NB. Thursday 28th April there is a black youth led demo from McDonalds Hardwick, Stockport Rd Manchester to Levenshulme Police Station. 4pm - 6pm