One struggle, one fight

Protesters demand a stop to violent policing

Local activist Stafford Scott with justice campaigner, Marcia Rigg
Credit: Luchia Robinson

By Luchia Robinson

Hundreds of people attended a protest against police racism, violence and impunity, in Tottenham High Road, last month.

The protest, which took place outside Tottenham Police Station, marked the nine-year anniversary of the killing of Tottenham resident, Mark Duggan.

Many people affected by acts of police brutality, shared their personal experiences. Speakers included Marcia Rigg, who is fighting for justice for her brother Sean Rigg, who died in police custody in 2008, and Cammilla Mngaza, the mother of Siyanda Mngaza, 21, from Cardiff, who is currently serving a four-and-a-half-year prison sentence for GBH.

Cammilla told the crowds that her daughter was racially attacked, last May, sustaining multiple injuries from being beaten. She added that Siyanda’s allegations were not investigated by the police, and that she was wrongly jailed for defending herself, whilst outnumbered during the attack.

Cammilla said: “The police are not supposed to be above the law, but they are allowed to get away with being above the law.

“Not one member of the police in the UK have been charged, convicted or sent to prison for killing, maiming and causing gross injustice to Black people.

“Siyanda is one case of gross injustice, she sits rotting in a prison because she was beaten, and stomped in the face numerous times because of the colour of her skin.”

In July, the Independent Office for Police Conduct announced that they will be launching ‘race discrimination’ as a thematic area of focus, in effort to ‘develop a body of evidence to identify systemic issues which should be addressed.’

IOPC Director General Michael Lockwood said: “Initially we will focus on investigating more cases where there is an indication that disproportionality impacts BAME communities, including stop and search and use of force.

“We will also be investigating more cases where victims from BAME communities have felt unfairly treated by the police. For example, whether the police are treating allegations of hate crime from BAME complainants
seriously and where it is alleged the police have not recognised or treated BAME victims of crime as victims.

“This is about identifying where we are seeing good and bad practice, and where there are then opportunities to drive real learning and change.

“We know this is an issue of community concern. Our police forces can only police effectively with the trust and confidence of the community they serve.”

The speakers at the protest expressed their lack of trust and confidence in the police because of their experiences of racist policing.

Credit: Luchia Robinson

Black people in England and Wales are ten times more likely to be stopped by the police than white people. Stop and search was increased during the coronavirus lockdown, and 30% of young Black men in London were stopped a total of more than 20,000 times.

43,000 stops were carried out in May, compared to 21,000 the previous year, and 30,608 in April, compared to 20,981 in 2019.

A recent report commissioned by the Hope not Hate Charitable Trust, which looks at minority communities in the time of Covid-19 and protest, found that 80% of Black respondents feel that the police are biased against people from their ethnic group. 61% said the government should reduce spending on policing, instead diverting money to preventative services such as social care, youth work and mental health provisions.

A petition calling for Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick to resign has been started by organisations challenging racism and racial violence: Tottenham Rights, The Monitoring Group, 4Front Project, and Black Lives Matter UK.

Local activist, Stafford Scott said: “We’ve come to demand the end of the planned roll out of Tasers. We want [the police] to scrap the use of Section 60 stop and search, where they can just stop and search any young Black kid, treating them like chattel without any reasonable cause, without any evidence, or without any suggestion that they’ve done wrong.

“We want them to stop putting handcuffs on our Black youth.

“We are going to come out and we’re going to support as we did in the 80s, and we’re going to slow [the police] down until we make them understand that enough is enough, and we can’t take no more.

“Tottenham, Wood Green, Hornsey – one struggle, one fight.

“Northumberland Park Estate, Broadwater Farm Estate – one struggle, one fight.”

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