TEHRAN (Iran News) –Protests have been taking place across the United Kingdom after yet another unarmed black man was shot and killed by police officers.
Police killed 24-year-old Chris Kaba in his car in south London on September 5. The post-mortem found he died from a gunshot wound sustained in the head.
In central London, people demanding justice for the victim, marched from Downing Street to Scotland Yard where speakers took to the stage.
The police watchdog investigating the killing says it will take up to nine months to conclude a probe. The time frame announced and the time it took for the officer involved to be suspended has sparked further anger. Only after days of community anger, the police announced that the officer who pulled the trigger will be suspended.
One of the victim’s cousins outlined the family’s demands, “Did the officers know that it was Chris in the car? Or were they simply following a suspect vehicle? The suspended officer must be interviewed under caution without delay and keep family informed of this. There should be a charging decision within weeks and not months.”
Speaking at the protest, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, a member of parliament, said “the length of time it’s taken to suspend the officer involved is completely appalling. I can’t think of any other profession where your actions would lead to someone’s life ending and you wouldn’t immediately be suspended.”
The former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was also in attendance. He said “despite the national mourning that’s going on, it’s important because we are bearing witness to the terrible tragedy that has happened here. Imagine if no one was here. Imagine the terrible pain.
“We will carry on being here until the interview takes place under caution. I want a much higher degree of accountability to bring security and safety to our communities.”
Some of the family members of those killed by the police, some of them many years ago but still seeking justice, also attended the rally.
Lee Lawrence, whose mother Cherry Groce was shot by police in 1985, told the crowd, “When I was 11 the police came in my house and shot my innocent mum Cherry Groce in front of me and my siblings.
“My mum was paralysed. She passed in 2011 the same year when Mark Duggan was killed by police. We never got justice. Justice is about fairness and if we received justice my mother would have not been killed. We will hold their legacy and their deaths will stand for something. We owe it to them to never give up.”
Floyd Jarrett, whose mother Cynthia Jarrett died of a heart attack after a police raid in 1985, said, “Every time you take the lives of our mothers and children, we will come out and protest, I’ve seen for 30 years people make the same cry and I’m telling Chris Kaba’s family that we will stand up. No justice, no peace.”
Marcia Rigg, whose brother Sean Rigg was killed in Brixton police station in 2008, said, “I’m just going to fight my tears. My condolences to Chris’ family. The whole country is grieving. We are grieving for our loved ones our kings, our queens.”
She added, “It shouldn’t take a death for us to wake up and come out in the streets again. We know there’s no justice but just us. We are not going anywhere.”
Protests have also taken place in other cities including Manchester and Cardiff as part of a national day of action.
The protesters are angry at the lack of accountability for police when they use lethal force. A similar pattern has been seen over the decades where officers kill black people and other ethnic minority groups and go unpunished.
The British police force has been censured by rights groups and United Nations experts for racism against non-white people, especially black people.
Ilyas Nagdee, Amnesty International UK’s Racial Justice Director, says: “Racism is still rampant in policing and it’s disappointing that police chiefs have stopped short of accepting that policing is institutionally racist.
“Despite the gloss sometimes put on things by senior officers, little has changed with regards to racism and misogyny in policing in the 23 years since the Macpherson report, and in some respects, things are getting worse.
“The overuse of Tasers and of stop-and-search against black people, racial profiling in the name of countering ‘gangs’, appalling incidents of misogyny and strip-searching in schools are just some of the issues which suggest the police as an organization remain in denial about its deep-rooted racist thinking and practices.”
This is while research has highlighted how institutionalized the problem has become. Blacks, Asians, and ethnic minorities have been unjustly killed by police.
Studies have found the proportion of deaths involving black, Asian, and minoritized ethnicities in police custody where restraint has been used is two times higher than it is in other deaths in custody.
And the proportion of these deaths in police custody where the use of force is used is over two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody.
According to the Office of the United Nations, High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) racism and racial discrimination against Africans and people of African descent are often rooted in policies and practices grounded in the debasement of the status of individuals in society.
The UN agency says this is particularly apparent in countries with a legacy of enslavement, the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans, and colonialism resulting in sizeable communities
of people of African descent.
It would appear that British police continue to live in a culture of colonialism, where black citizens in the community are still being treated as second-class citizens.
As the OHCHR states, systemic racism persists, in large part, due to misconceptions that the abolition of slavery, the end of the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans and colonialism, and measures taken by states to date, have removed the racially discriminatory structures built by those practices.
Statistics by the British ministry of justice highlight this racist attitude as between April 2019 and March 2020 “there were 6 stops and searches for every 1,000 White people, compared with 54 for every 1,000 Black people”.
Even in cases where an inquest has found wrongdoing by the police, no criminal investigation has been launched. This is why black communities have lost hope not just in the police but in the judicial system as well. There is rarely any justice for the many black victims of the police.
And in the few instances where cases of black people dying after being in contact with the police are examined by the justice systems, convictions are even more rare.
Reports show that since 1990 there have only been nine unlawful killing conclusions returned by juries into deaths involving the police yet none of these have resulted in murder or manslaughter prosecution.
Judging by the vast evidence of institutionalized racism in the UK police, its clear to see why there is anger and pain in black communities.
The police who are supposed to protect them and enforce the law are actually doing anything but protection and law enforcement. The judicial system is failing black people as well, meaning the lack of any accountability will see more victims at the hands of police in the future.
- source : Tehrantimes