Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Ultimate Black Professional and Community Legacy Gala 2017

When we fundraise our own money, we stand on our two feet and look our children proudly in the eyes with confidence, pride and we fear no-one. #LegacyGala2017 We stand proud in the eyes of all, when we sacrifice our today for a better tomorrow. 

We stand all fall on the extend that we truly adopt the  philosophy of the Jamaican national hero, the Honourable Marcus Garvey. Today, we need to adopt this philosophy as our primary strategy for success. 

The Garveyite philosophy of "do for self" and look to Africa has never been so important as it is today. In these deeply troubled times, financial independence and ensuring a global connectivity have to be the head cornerstone's of any sustainable foundation of the next generation's leadership.

As Brexit looms and uncertainty abounds, our children face a future where they will enjoy fewer opportunities for personal advancement, economic and social mobility than any other previous modern day generation. 

It's vital that we prepare legacy organisations dedicated to providing the expertise and guidance that will support our next generation of young leaders. 

The Legacy Gala seeks to do just that; to raise our own finance to invest in our own young people, in developing ethical and effective next generation leaders

There can be no greater genetic or historic responsibility for any people. other than to ensure that they bequeath, to the next generation, their children, a world better that the one they inherited from their parents.

The Windrush generation worked hard, from can't see in the morning, till can't see at night, to ensure that they and their children, had a better future. 

This is the essential historic mission of all parents, all communities and nations.

Today we are in danger of bequeathing, to the next generation, a world in far worse state than the one we inherited. That would constitute an abandonment of our historic duty to push our communities forward and sacrifice today so that our children can benefit tomorrow.

This is our mission and today this work, investing in the future, financial independence, ethical and principled leadership is needed more than ever.

Buy advertising in the Legacy Magazine to access the UK Black professionals. Book tables to enjoy a night of sophistication, investment and opportunity. 

Sunday, 24 September 2017

The Public Death Of Rashan Charles and Black Community Confidence in the Met Police.

Rashan Charles tragic and brutal death on screen is haunting the powers that be like a wailing banshee. 

Things are not going well for the Metropolitan Police Service, the Independent Police Complaints Commission nor the Home Secretary.

Met Police and Black community tensions continues to build. Its a bit like a slow underwater leak into an already full dam. The damage may not be immediately discernable, but sooner or later that dam’s going to crack with devastating consequences.

The radio silence maintained by the Met Police and the IPCC in relation to the death of Rashan Charles is deafening. 

I suspect we are witnessing a concerted cover up and an information clamp down about a case, that should righty cause outrage and uproar.

And I should know, since tweeting a #Justice4RashanCharles meme I've had legal notices sent to me by Twitter and some restrictions placed on this tweet being circulated in the UK.  

I suspect this legal challenge has come from the Metropolitan Police Service who don’t want the image of the officer circulated.

Trying every single trick in the book. 
Trying to clamp down on the truth. 

This legal intimidation is as a result of the Police recently applying to the Corners Court for an “ex parte” hearing. They applied for and were granted, reporting restriction on the naming of two police officers (we only know of one… so that’s interesting) and the member of the public who assisted the officer in restraining Rashan.

Rashan being brutality detained 
I’m informed the Charles family were not informed of this hearing and were not given any opportunity to challenge the Met’s demand for anonymity for their officers, so much for genuine police accountability and due process.

Some three months on, and despite the much-vaunted claims of ‘police bodycams’ leading to a new climate of openness and transparency in the aftermath of the shooting of Mark Duggan, the Met police have reverted to type and closed down all avenues of information on the Rashan case.

Where is the Met’s footage and why hasn’t it been released? Why do the Met want the police officers names to be publicly withheld? Don’t we pay their wages?

So little is known about this incident, that one has to truly wonder if the Charles family, cannot get clarity from the Met about the precise circumstances leading up to the death of Rashan, what will it take for the Met to be truly accountable to Londoner's?

Let's look at what we do know. We know that Rashan was a passenger in a car that was stopped by Tactical Support Group (TSG) police van.

Was Rashan's detention unlawful and illegal? 

We don’t know why the car was stopped or what legal powers were used. 

We don’t know what powers the TSG officer who chased Rashan relied upon to detain and restrain him. 

Months later, despite this being a case that attracts huge public interest, we know virtually nothing of the legal circumstances surrounding his detention. 

This is deeply distressing for the Charles family who are becoming increasingly frustrated with a process of inquiry and accountability that appears to be building a brick wall between them and the truth.

I suspect we still don’t know what happened today because this was an illegal stop and search and the police don't want their recently announced increases in the use of the power to be fatally undermined. 

That’s the difficulty the Met face, telling the truth now means they would be forced to admit, that Rashan’s forcible detention and arrest fell well below the standard legal and professional requirements. 

Think about it…why else would the Met refuse to comment, in the face of overwhelming public criticism, on the precise legal rationale for his pursuit, restraint and arrest?

I believe the Met Police and the IPCC want as much time and distance to have passed between the incident itself and the full disclosure of the facts, most of which they have in their possession now. Were this true, this would constitute a cynical media management campaign, prosecuted against the public interest and at the expense of the a grieving family. 

They are deeply worried about the Charles case, not simply because we have a video that cant lie, but because the full facts, were they to be revealed now are so shocking, as to constitute a threat to their policing legitimacy. They're also aware of another important reality, they face a formidable Charles family, demanding justice.

A fact largely unknown in the public domain until now, is that Rashan’s uncle is a retired Metropolitan Police TSG Sargent with 30 years service under his belt. I’ve met and spoke with him on many occasions and he says of Rashan restraint, he’s never seen anything like in 30 years in the job. He’s a big man and in many ways, is a typical policeman’s policeman, a dedicated professional officer and a Police Federation rep for many years.

He told me that throughout his 30-year career he’s restrained hundreds of people suspected of swallowing drugs without a single compliant or injury. He was also a trained Firearms Officer, and a Borough Operations Manager. And he knows instinctively what legal restraint looks like. Public Order trained to level 2 this man was responsible for training his fellow police officers.

He is shocked, angry and disappointed that neither the Met Police nor the IPCC are offering any explanation as to the legal basis of Rashan’s detention. The Charles family are also disappointed with the chaotic, foot dragging response of the IPCC. You can see the anger and disappointment in his eyes, this is a man who believed in the system would work and now he knows it doesn't, he’s devastated.

Another curious thing, where’s the delayed pathology report into the cause of Rashan’s death? Why is it, some two months later we still have no public explanation as to the official cause of his death? 

I was contacted recently by a reliable contact that tells me that the Pathologist has in fact found that Rashan died from strangulation. We shouldn’t be shocked, you don’t have to go to medical school to reach that conclusion, but what’s really shocking if true, is that I’m told that the pathologist is currently being lent on by the Met Police and Home Office to withhold and amend this report.

My information is the pathologist concerned is desperate to tell the truth but is being subjected to massive pressure to keep silent.

Ask yourself, why is it taking so long to publish a pathology report into Rashan death? 

The reason could be the Met don’t like the conclusion. If true, then this may have certainly lead to serious concerns being expressed in the Met, the Mayors Office and Government itself, that it's publication, citing strangulation as the cause of death, would lead to widespread social unrest and delegitimise the use of the power of stop and search.

Whatever the conjecture and speculation, there remains one objective truth in all of this, and that is the video can’t lie.

That three minute plus tape has told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, leaving the assembled authorities of denial, blinking at the screen, mortified and desperate to know what to do and desperately seeking a lawful and reasonable ‘explanation’ of events capable of reinterpreting and reframing the plain awful truth.

We are being asked to believe their explanation that the police officer was simply trying to save Rashan from swallowing a package of suspected drugs, that turned out to be nothing more than caffeine and paracetamol.

There are those, particular the army of on line police trolls, who are determinedly active in seeking to discredit Rashan and justify the officers actions I’ve now named them, the Police Troll Support Group #PTSG. My twitter TL is infested with these full time, troll agents. I have written about their activities before after they targeted me and conspired to have me removed from Twitter. 

It’s quite remarkable that we’re being asked to believe the Police   narrative, rather than believe our own lying eyes, remarkable, but not surprising. As Black people we know that racism is a powerful hallucinogenic drug capable of inducing extreme denial in the face of objective truths.

The officer concerned has now been served ‘misconduct papers’ a term that suggests some kind of minor misdemeanour, as though he was late for work or insulted the boss. It certainty doesn’t equate to being questioned for the possible murder of an innocent man. Why cant police officers be arrested like the rest of us, where there is compelling evidence of serious criminality?

The Met are standing by their man and refusing to suspend him from duty despite the enfeebled IPCC request for them to do so. Instead they’ve placed the officer on restrictive duties.

Now let me ask you this, on what planet are we living on when a police officer, who may have been responsible for the death of a member of the public, goes back to work the next day and continues as normal? In any other profession that person would be suspended until an investigation had concluded and determined all potential criminal responsibilities and legalities.

Another anomaly in this case is why has this officer has given a preliminary statement to the IPCC, that say’s nothing about the legal grounds for his actions? The IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts whose investigating this case needs to recognise the public need answers now, not in three years time. 

This officer will now of course be formally interviewed under caution, unbelievably at a time of his choosing, having been served his IPCC initiated misconduct papers, and will be surrounded by his Federation lawyers and no doubt retaining his right to silence.
In a statement in response to the Met's failure to suspend this officer, the Charles family issued this statement;

The video clip of 20-year-old Rashan Charles shows him thrashing around, desperately gulping, trying to breath as he is ‘restrained’ by a Metropolitan Police Officer in Dalston, east London.

Rashan died on the 22nd July 2017 almost three months ago and his death has opened many people’s eyes to the reality of the police brutality and racism faced by many black young people on a daily basis.

The conclusion reached by the majority of objective people who watch the violent scenes unfold is that Rashan was strangled to death. That simple and objective truth is both crystal clear to most who watch Rashan take his final breath.

There is no controversy around these events. The film does not lie.

The TSG police officer chases Rashan into a shop, wrestles him to the ground, and then with the assistance of a member of the public, proceeds to place his neck in a forearm lock, exercising a lethal lynching like vice grip, that literally crushes his neck, cutting of both vital oxygen and blood supplies to the brain.

You can see the most urgent and tragic desperation of Rashan as he thrashes around struggling to suck in oxygen, suffocating under the sheer weight of both the police officer and a member of the public.

As you replay this scene from Dante’s hell, you can feel the oxygen draining form one’s own lungs and your breath is literally taken away, as you watch Rashan fall limp.

One has to ask where is the Mayor of London and the London Assembly in all of this? We’ve had the death of Edir Frederico Da Costa and a young 16yr old black boy from Lambeth, Tyresse Johnson who riding on a scooter with no helmet and being chased by police ‘fell off” and subsequently died from severe head injuries.

There is no mention of these issues at City Hall. No expression of concern from the Greater London Authority, the London Assembly members, not a word from Mayor Sadiq Khan, nor his Policing Advisor Sophie Linton nor his one and only black deputy Mayor.

And so, on these most important matters, we have total silence from the office that is ultimately responsible for the Met Police. Where is the voice of Londoners?

It should be of no surprise to anyone that not one of these mourning black families have not received a formal apology from the Met police. Their contempt is palpable. 

Hard to imagine such contemptible callousness and lack of basic compassion, but black lives remain cheap in London and have no political significance for the Met Police, the London Mayor or the London Assembly. For them its simply business as usual.

All of this, and to make matters worse, we have no locally elected Police Consultative Groups in London. Abolished by Boris Johnson they were a vital conduit for communications between the police and public at times of great tensions. Lord Scarman recommended their creation in aftermath of the 1980’s Brixton uprising. He felt it was important to address the obvious communication, trust and confidence gap that led to public anger about unrelenting police racism.

The consequences of their abolition means that local police accountability has been slowly eroding ever since. Unelected Safer Neighbourhood Boards have taken their place and simply failing to fill the gap. Their minutes are private and they operate largely in secrecy and anonymity, the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee is a pale imitation of the former Metropolitan Police Authority it replaced. 

The result of all of this is? We’re left with the same information vacuum identified by Lord Scarman and cited as a key contributing factor to the civil disturbances that took place, post the shooting of Mark Duggan in 2011.

Today we remember that that stop and search has increased by a factor of ten since 1986 and as a direct result we have the highest level of tension and public mistrust between London’s black communities and the Met seen in decades.

London is refusing to learn the lessons of its recent history and is therefore destined to repeat the tragic mistakes of the past. No community can long withstand, without tragic social consequences, 
such profound political marginalisation, 
police oppression and injustice.

People, politicians, the police and Government really need to wake up and understand that Londoners’ need answers now and that any further delays will only exacerbate already growing police and community tensions in the capital.

As was once said by someone very famous "Without justice, there can be no peace" 

Thursday, 7 September 2017

#AdrianMcDonald #BlackLivesMatter

When black people die in police custody nobody hears their screams, most don't give a damn and the Police just sit back and laugh at those of who complain and agitate for justice. Here's the case of Adrian McDonald who died in horrific circumstances in Stoke last year

Community/public response are all full of fury in the first weeks and by the end of the first month, everybody's moved on and forgotten about these horrific abuses, until it happens again, or it happens to someone they know.

Bottom line is, they are killing us with impunity because they do not fear or respect us. we are too weak and divided or more interested in killing each other. To obtain justice you must be either feared or respected, we are neither.

The majority of organisations we rely on are black organisations dependant on the state for funding from the Home Office or from local authorities. To many charities see fighting racism as "too political" and therefore conduct discrimination research studies that prove what we already know, that racism is real. They get PHD's we get nothing.

They're fearful of building mass movements for justice and prefer to to 'study' the problem through academic research rather than empowering communities to confront power.

Truth is we, need to go back to the tradition of non violent direct human rights actions if we are to obtain equality and injustice.

In the 1980's and 90's when we suffered these attacks, we fought back. I remember the times when all police officers had to walk in pairs in black areas for fear of attack.

No police vehicles could be left unattended anywhere in our areas or it risked being vandalised, the keys would be stolen,  tires slashed and/or a pile of dog shit, emptied rubbish bins on the seat. Back then we had 'front lines' that were defended. These have all now been "gentrified" of course.

When things with police got heavy, we'd block of roads for days at a time, we'd organise what we'd call Blockorama street protest parties, and put sound sytems on the streets to warn the people. We'd surround the police station, we'd do something.

And of course we exploded with political fury in 1976, 1981, 1986. The focus of our attacks back then was the police not Argos, Yes they got done over, of course they did, but our main focus was the police.

We didn't seek to complain to the Police Complaints Authority, we knew they were a cover for corrupt cops, what we did do is physically fought back and kept the police in our areas on a permanent war footing.

Our mantra was "one punch will do" as young men, we use to practice that one punch all day long, that and sprint running, you had to be able to knock a man out, get away clean by knowing every nook and cranny in your ends.

Once we perfected our technique, the next time we met a racist policer officer with his golliwog or National Front badge hiding under his lapel, he'd get knocked out. Of course many of us went to jail in the backlash that inevitably came, but those sacrifices led to the abolishment of SUS laws and the other important concessions.

There can be no progress without sacrifice, its impossible and today we have forgotten what ts like to sacrifice for a bigger clause. Think of the first enslaved African who said "hell no" and walked of the plantation. That African choose to take the first blows for black freedom.

Today, we fight back with a tweet or a hashtag, we go on demonstrations to march hither and thither. we sign protest petitions, have a conference.

Let me be clear, for the avoidance of doubt, I'm not arguing for a return to a 'war footing', we dont have the neighbourhood solidarity or collective unity to do that today, and in any event such violence is ultimately futile.

We've been localised to post code wars between ourselves, so the strategies of yesterday year cannot work today and in any, event wanton violence is ultimately both self defeating and costly.  No... Im suggesting a return to the first stage of any effective struggle for justice, and one we haven't tried here in Britain, at least in any menaingfull way, with any degree of consistency or focus, and that is non violent direct action. #NVDA

Today's reality is that they know we don't have the stomach for that kind of action. In a strange way we have become more culturally British than black, in so far as we've adopted the quintessentially British attitude of "Im alright Jack. Every body for himself and no one else".

Imagine if one thousand of us set out to get arrested and filled up the police cells, crammed with people arrested for taking non violent direct action against police racism? We'd have the Government weak and the police begging for a cessation in an instant. One action such as this would be enough to push them back.

In the 70/80/90's we knew who the 'enemy' was. Our focus was racist police and whatever our beef personally, we would always unite in fighting the common enemy. Today police racism, although not as crude and in your face as smacking you in the mouth and calling you a nigger, in terms of both its scale and effects, police racism today is much, much worse.

Let me tell you why, the extent to which the growth of insidious police racism has become institutionalised, systemised and pervasive cannot be underestimated. The police are racially profiling and racially charging black people for crimes that whites receive a caution for, at ten times the rate of that they were doing back then.

Today the rate of criminalisation of our people has reached industrial and epidemic proportions.

Most of our many black churches stay silent. The Pastors say "leave all judgement to God" close the church doors and take care only of their bank accounts and their sheep like congregations.

The failure of parenting and leadership. means many of our young people are consumed with self hate and murderous intent for each other, Family breakdown comes as a direct result of the highest long term unemployment rates in Europe, massive increase in real poverty, huge levels of education failure and school exclusions, then add to that the illicit drugs economy, c criminal violence, systemised and pervasive police and judicial racism, and you can see why our communities have become so criminalised, so fragmented and so disempowered.

Ethical leadership in our community is rare, tokenism and sticking plaster solutions are everywhere preferred to actively challenging racism. Our people prefer to spend their money on other things rather than invest in building an independent civil rights movement capable of defending our communities. There are new organisations like the new social movement Blaksox alongside others that are carving out a new course for the struggle for race equality in the 21st Century. They strive hard to provide the critical elements of a British black renaissance, financial independence, accountable, transparent and ethical leadership

We have to step up our struggle and learn to do things differently. We need to break out the old 'protest paradigm' and think in terms of economic indpendance, mass non violent protests and the development of a legal strategy that challenges racism in the courts and on the streets. Sound familiar?

These two strategies were developed during the US civil rights movement led by Dr King. They are the most effective strategies of politcal empowerment of the disenfranchised, employed by any African diaspora anywhere in the Western world.

Today, the sad truth is that any people who will not learn from their history are doomed to repeat it.

The recent surge in black men dying in police custody is the final signal that black people in Britain are neither feared no respected. Time to talk truth to power and stop being afraid. Our children's future is at stake.

London Assembly: Refuses to report back on Grenfell Tower fire police investigation,