Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Bristol Police Taser Their Own Race Relations Adviser

The Justice for Judah meeting called in response to the incident.

Footage of police in Bristol tasering an innocent black man has made news around the world. The attack was even more shocking because the victim, Judah Adunbi, was a prominent member of the police's race relations group.
The video, captured by a neighbour, shows the 63-year-old being confronted by police with their taser already drawn. They had the wrong person, but threatened to arrest him when he legally refused to give his name.
Officers blocked him from his own back gate, pushed him back and tasered him, causing him to fall to the ground. He had to be taken to hospital and was then held by police for ten hours.
Unbelievably, the victim was charged with assaulting a police officer despite video evidence showing the opposite. The person filming accurately countered police claims: "He wasn't trying to fight... you started it. You both made physical contact first."
The charges have now been dropped. Mr Adunbi was also attacked by police in 2007, and was clear that this was a racist incident.
Sadly, statistics show institutional racism still exists within the police. Avon and Somerset Constabulary's own figures show officers are twice as likely to fire tasers on oppressed racial groups once drawn.
Nationally, black and Asian people are almost three times as likely to be stopped and searched as white people, according to Home Office data from last year.
The Black Lives Matter movement that erupted in the US following police murders of black people has been taken up in this country as well. The anti-Trump protest in Bristol showed its support, stopping outside a police station chanting: "No justice, no peace! No racist police!"
We need to fight for democratic community control of police policy and hiring to start to address institutional racism in the police.

Report of Justice for Judah meeting

Around 200 people crammed into a meeting in St Pauls, Bristol, on 28 January to discuss the horrendous tasering of a police race relations group member Judah Adunbi.

There was a feeling of anger at what had happened and a desire to achieve justice for Judah but it didn't stop there. Speaker after speaker from the floor talked of personal experiences of injustice and that enough was enough. Action needs to be taken to ensure this stops now.

A campaign has been formed by the community, and Avon and Somerset police are in the spotlight. Further meetings and events are set to be arranged to highlight the case and the racist policing. The elected police commissioner, Sue Mountstevens, sat silently throughout the meeting, declining the opportunity to comment.

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees spoke to highlight the racial nature of the problem but declined to indicate how £101 million of cuts to council services are likely to make things better.

This when a recent report from the Roundtree Foundation indicates that Bristol is one of the most unequal cities, with the BME population trailing behind in job opportunities, health, and social access.

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