Category Archives: Police

Chauvin guilty of George Floyd murder – and what it means for people in the UK

Derek Chauvin: this image was taken from video footage of him choking George Floyd to death by kneeling on his throat for nine minutes.

A policeman from the United States has been found guilty of all charges related to the murder of African-American George Floyd.

Derek Chauvin, 45, was found guilty on three charges: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.

He will remain in custody until he is sentenced and could spend decades in jail.

The death of Mr Floyd sparked an international wave of protest that resulted in multiple mass “Black Lives Matter” protests here in the United Kingdom and the toppling of statues celebrating slavers – like that of Edward Colston in Bristol.

But here’s the reason the verdict matters directly to people here in the UK:

Derek Chauvin, 45, was filmed kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during his arrest last May.

The widely watched footage sparked worldwide protests against racism and excessive use of force by police.

If members of the public hadn’t taken video of Chauvin choking Mr Floyd to death, it is almost certain that Chauvin would have been able to avoid any charges at all; it would have been the word of a few black people against that of a police officer.

Meanwhile, here in the UK, a police union – the Metropolitan Police Federation – has been campaigning to prevent what it calls “trial by social media”.

These people mean the practice of posting video evidence of police misdeeds on Facebook and (particularly) Twitter.

I wrote about this less than a week ago. At that time, I quoted this tweet –

– and added:

“Two good points, don’t you think? For clarity, they are:

“1. If nobody had taken footage of George Floyd being throttled under the knee of a US police officer, nothing would have been done about it.

“2. It is hypocritical of the MetFed to complain about the sharing of images that shame the police when its own officers have shared images of them behaving inappropriately (to say the least) with the dead bodies of members of the public.

“If the police did not behave inappropriately; if they weren’t prone to violence against the public they are meant to protect; and if we didn’t have reason to believe the system was corruptly supporting them, then nobody would be recording these images – they simply would not happen.

“So, before these people demand what are frankly fascist measures to stop us from holding them to account – and remember, they can still record us (although I understand footage from cop cameras is likely to be restricted due to failings in policing by the officers involved) – it seems clear they should try cleaning up their act instead.

“But I suppose that would take all the fun out of it.”

Well, I reckon they’re going to have all the fun taken out of it now.

Because, after the Chauvin verdict, nobody will have the nerve to suggest banning footage of police brutality from the social media.

Source: George Floyd: Jury finds Derek Chauvin guilty of murder – BBC News

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Met police want to stop social media sharing of rogue police cracking heads

Police violence: it seems our law guardians are upset at being filmed attacking members of the public, with the images subsequently going on social media. Simple solution: don’t commit violent attacks on members of the public.

Apparently breaking the heads of members of the public isn’t such fun when you can be identified and shamed on the social media.

Of course that’s not what the Metropolitan Police Federation is saying. Its spokespeople call it “trial by social media” and say it should be banned.

They would, wouldn’t they?

They’re justifying their demand by pointing to verdicts of investigations into police conduct that have resulted in no action being taken.

But doesn’t that just raise questions about the way the police are policed?

Doesn’t it give us cause to question what police need to do before they are penalised for the outrageous behaviour they have been caught doing on camera?

This Writer has seen a woman being punched in the face by a policeman, her head snapping back almost into the camera taking the footage.

We all saw the police men practically stripping a female protester at a demonstration in Manchester. Why were they doing that and when will they be punished for it?

We’ve all seen footage of police harassing people from ethnic minorities, for no readily-apparent reason.

The MetFed wants those videos to be banned – and I don’t think it’s because there is no case to be answered.

I think it is because the MetFed doesn’t want to be embarrassed by the behaviour of its own people.

And what about this:

Two good points, don’t you think? For clarity, they are:

1. If nobody had taken footage of George Floyd being throttled under the knee of a US police officer, nothing would have been done about it.

2. It is hypocritical of the MetFed to complain about the sharing of images that shame the police when its own officers have shared images of them behaving inappropriately (to say the least) with the dead bodies of members of the public.

If the police did not behave inappropriately; if they weren’t prone to violence against the public they are meant to protect; and if we didn’t have reason to believe the system was corruptly supporting them, then nobody would be recording these images – they simply would not happen.

So, before these people demand what are frankly fascist measures to stop us from holding them to account – and remember, they can still record us (although I understand footage from cop cameras is likely to be restricted due to failings in policing by the officers involved) – it seems clear they should try cleaning up their act instead.

But I suppose that would take all the fun out of it.

Source: Met Fed calls on chiefs to end trial by media after IOPC verdict | UK Police News – Police Oracle

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Is it time for checks and balances on police who abuse their powers?

Police at one of the Easter Saturday ‘Kill the Bill’ demonstrations: who do you think is being violent here?

It seems police across the UK have been abusing their powers to control protests for many years – so why do our governments only ever seem to give them more powers to abuse?

This article by Christine Berry expands on one This Site publicised a few days ago, discussing instances going back 13 or 14 years in which police behaviour fell far below the expected standard.

And the similarities tell us that they should have been stopped long ago.

Consider the opening paragraphs:

After someone suffers an untimely death at the hands of a Metropolitan Police officer, a vigil is held in London. Footage goes viral of a woman being physically attacked by Met officers at the vigil, but senior figures insist it was just good public order policing. Around the same time, it’s revealed that police lied about officers being injured at a separate protest. Public trust in policing is battered, but somehow, politicians still think it’s a good idea to give them more powers.

No, this isn’t 2021. It’s 2008-’09. The dead man is Ian Tomlinson, a bystander at the G20 protests who was hit with a baton and pushed to the ground. The woman is Nicola Fisher. And those ‘injuries’? ‘Six insect bites and a toothache,’ as the Guardian put it – sustained at the Kingsnorth Camp for Climate Action.

We see that, even then, the police were using the media to alter public perception of protests, with claims that their violence was “good public order policing” and with false claims of injuries suffered by officers.

The summer before, I’d joined the Heathrow Climate Camp – which saw a step change in police repression of protest, including kettling, mass searching, surveillance, and physical attacks.

So this was when these tactics were introduced. Under the New Labour government of Gordon Brown, notice.

I was advised that volunteering as a legal observer might give me a degree of protection: ‘They seem to respect the hi-vis jacket.’ Instead, the opposite happened, with legal observers expressly targeted for intimidation.

Footage of recent protests has shown police singling out observers and members of the press. It seems they don’t like it when their violence is witnessed. Neither do criminals; I make the observation in passing.

Going back to 2008:

When we raised questions about police abuse of power, the Minister for Policing responded that 70 officers had been injured at the protest. The implication was that the climate campers were a violent mob, and attacking them with batons was a proportionate response.

We heard the same last month…

Not a single officer had been injured by a protester. Instead, bizarre entries like ‘stung on finger by possible wasp’ ensured that the story went viral, and the Minister was forced to apologise for misleading Parliament.

… again, the injuries mentioned last month also proved unconnected – or simply false.

The conclusion is clear:

Smearing protesters as violent is a consistent and deliberate strategy employed by the police to justify their own aggressive tactics and suppress criticism.

Perhaps it is time to impose a rule – that police should only be allowed to make such claims if they are able to support them, immediately, with independently-verified proof.

Here’s another tactic:

In the run-up to the G20 [protests], Met Commander Bob Broadhurst had talked up the prospect of violence, so the media and the public were primed to believe his version of events.

He did the same before the student protests of 2010, imploring parents to ‘talk to their children and make sure they’re aware of the potential dangers’, since there was ‘only so much police officers can do’ to protect them from violent yobs hijacking demonstrations: yobs, presumably, like the officer who hit Alfie Meadows over the head with a baton, and left him bleeding into his brain.

So perhaps police representatives should be restrained from such “priming” – or at the very least, the press should challenge them to demonstrate their reasons for making such claims.

The following year, over 100 UK Uncut protesters were lured out of Fortnum and Mason on false pretences and arrested for aggravated trespass.

Yvette Cooper gave the police her full-throated support in bringing ‘the full force of the law’ down on the ‘few hundred mindless idiots and thugs’ who had supposedly attacked people and property. In fact, less than a dozen people had been charged with violent offences. And all the Fortnum and Mason prosecutions were subsequently dropped.

But nobody at the police faced any criticism over the tactics they used or the lies they told.

This cyclical pattern creates a climate of impunity where the police are in a no-lose situation. If protests pass off peacefully, they are praised for handling them well. If they don’t, the violence is blamed on the people they are beating up. The very fact of protestors’ repression is treated as proof they were engaged in violence: the police ‘must have had a reason’.

This is victim-blaming.

Here is a direct example of it:

In the days around the G20 protests… the Home Affairs Select Committee conducted an inquiry, but they gave Nicola Fisher a much harder time than Bob Broadhurst – insinuating that she’d ‘asked for it’ by instinctively pushing back when a police officer first shoved her, and asking how much she’d got for selling her story.

Press challenges to the police narrative, it seems, are met with the threat of a costly court battle:

Climate Camp occupied Bishopsgate … announcing at the outset that the occupation would last 24 hours…. I started getting panicked phone calls from friends who were kettled there, pleading for our help. The police were advancing on them with dogs, batons and riot shields. People were being punched, dragged, and thrown for no reason.

Feeling helpless, I rang my boss, who eventually managed to speak to Bob Broadhurst’s deputy, Ian Thomas. He asked Thomas what the hell he thought he was doing, making clear that he thought the action was unlawful. The response was effectively: see you in court.

We know (don’t we? This Writer certainly understands how it works) that civil court action in the UK is a lengthy and costly process. The police have the infinite resources of the state to support them; the press do not. It seems, then, that if faced with the consequences of their actions, they are happy to buy justice.

And now we have a new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that hands new powers to the police without imposing any of the checks and balances that are needed to stop them behaving like criminals.

Patel’s response to policing that oversteps legal powers is simply to ratchet up the powers. They no longer need to worry about how much ‘disruption’ justifies violently dispersing a protest: now, the threshold will effectively be zero.

They no longer need to worry about proving aggravated trespass: now, all trespass will be criminal anyway. She is giving them the impunity they have always wanted.

This should worry us all. As this history shows, a right to protest that stops when the Met says so is no right at all.

So it seems the police have been acting as politicians’ paid thugs for many years (decades, in fact – look at the disgraceful way police were used as political weapons during the Miners’ Strike of 1984-5).

Faced with evidence of criminal behaviour by men in police uniforms, our government has chosen not to impose curbs, but to change the law so their thuggery becomes legal – putting the police in a class above the rest of us.

It means that you will have no rights at all in any dealings you have with the police. They will be able to do anything they want with you, or to you, with impunity.

Remember that in some cases this includes committing crimes such as murder and rape, thanks to a law the Tories brought in a few months ago.

If you voted Tory in 2019, it’s what you wanted. Own it.

But even if you did, that doesn’t mean you should accept it. If you now understand that you made a mistake, you’d better do something about it.

Because this repression will only get worse.

Source: How Protestors Get the Blame for Police Violence

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Coverage of Kill the Bill protests shows continued bias against the public

Police at one of the Easter Saturday ‘Kill the Bill’ demonstrations: who do you think is being more violent here?

Dozens of demonstrations against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill took place across the UK on Saturday (April 3).

I held off reporting on them because I wanted to see how the national media covered the protests first.

Remember my article on how the media try to turn the public against ordinary people by slanting their stories, from a few weeks ago? Here’s a reminder:

First the press [respond] … by reporting it in ‘passive voice’. Reports stated ‘clashes occurred…’ or ‘clashes between protesters and police’. Words carefully chosen to not indicate who had started the clashes (the police) and who had been on the receiving end of the majority of the violence (those attending…)

They will report on any police injuries ‘six police received medical attention due to the protest’ they might say… It is very rare that figures are collected for how many protesters were injured, and the assumption may be that this means that number is zero, and the police were thus on the receiving end of more violence than they dished out.

Many news outlets chose to term everyone present as ‘protesters’.

Politicians… chime in condemning the ‘violence’ caused by ‘protesters’.

Now let’s have a look at some reports from the police and the mainstream media.

Who do you see being violent in the video clip?

How many members of the public were injured?

Agents provocateurs? Police plants? We’ve seen evidence of those in recent demonstrations.

Members of the public saw matters from a different angle – such as the following, showing a policeman very clearly kneeling on the neck of a member of the public. Shades of George Floyd?

The Met Police has issued a statement:

The best that could be suggested is that the Met’s spokespeople may have been accidentally looking at a different incident in which somebody was indeed kneeling on a person’s back. Of course, this would imply that they make a habit of attacking members of the public in this way. Not a good look!

And their images of protests around the UK were similarly divergent from the impression being pushed by the police and the press:

The ‘Kill the Bill’ protests (which are about terminating the Police Bill, not the ‘Old Bill’ which is a colloquial name for the police themselves) have been supported by opposition MPs like Jeremy Corbyn…

Mr Corbyn said the bill would prevent protest without police approval.

Speaking in Parliament Square in central London, Mr Corbyn invoked figures such as the suffragettes and Nelson Mandela as he urged the crowd to oppose the bill.

“Stand up for the right to protest, stand up for the right to have your voice heard,” he said.

“I want a society where it is safe to walk the streets, where you can speak out, you can demonstrate and you don’t have to seek the permission from the police or the home secretary to do so,” he said.

… and Zarah Sultana:

Unsurprisingly the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, Keir Starmer, has been nowhere to be found.

Source: Kill the Bill protests: Defend right to protest, Corbyn tells marchers – BBC News

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Police inspectorate skewed report to support government clampdown on protests – claim

Whistleblower: this image is representative (the revelations in the article were made by a woman). Many whistleblowers suffer for their principles, in spite of assurances that this won’t happen. It will be interesting to see what happens to Alice O’Keeffe’s career from now on.

The timing is exquisite.

On the day This Site published an article about allegations that a report on institutional racism was scripted by the Tory government to support a lie that there isn’t any in the UK, a whistleblower attacked another report – on the policing of protests – saying it was scripted by the Tories too.

The claim is a huge blow to the credibility of HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services. Another blow to its credibility is the fact that it will apparently examine whether there is any truth to it.

For clarity, whistleblower Alice O’Keeffe has said

The official policing inspectorate showed repeated bias in favour of the police and against peaceful protesters…

[The report] was skewed in favour of the government view, with conclusions reached before evidence was gathered and assessed.

The civil service code was breached.

HMICFRS told the home secretary in a private letter it backed the need to change protest laws five months before its report was published.

Some in the inquiry team… likened peaceful protesters to the IRA, which waged a terrorist campaign against the UK.

Ms O’Keeffe’s written complaint was made as HMICFRS worked on a separate report on the policing of a vigil for Sarah Everard. She said the biases she had seen left her fearing a report into the policing of the vigil would be a whitewash.

And, as we have seen, it seems she was right.

That report totally exonerated the police and found fault with those of us who criticised police violence against and manhandling of women at the Clapham Common vigil.

HMICFRS has defended itself by claiming independence – based on nothing more than reputation. But reputations can be broken by facts.

And Ms O’Keeffe has spent five years working for the police inspectorate, so it is reasonable to believe she may know her subject.

Well, I hope she made copies of her evidence and put them in a safe place because if HMICFRS holds any information corroborating her claims then you can bet the hard drives have been wiped and the hard copies shredded already.

The upshot of all this is that in the short term we have another reason to distrust a police service that seems to be working for a totalitarian Tory government – and against us.

And in the long term?

We can expect another report that whitewashes the Tory-supporting inspectorate and gives us even more reason to live in fear of our government and the police force that smashes our heads in its name.

Source: Police watchdog accused of skewing report to back protests clampdown | Police | The Guardian

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Starmer tries to jump on ‘law and order’ bandwagon. Satirists push him off

Keir Starmer: I couldn’t find a single image of this former Director of Public Prosecutions with police officers.

The ridiculous Keir Starmer never misses an opportunity to make a fool of himself.

Elected as Labour leader on the basis of 10 pledges (all now broken) that didn’t say a word about law and order, he is now trying to remodel Labour as “the party of law and order” because he can see public opinion swinging against the Tories.

Apparently he’s putting the enforcement of criminal justice at the centre of his local election campaign – even though local authorities have no influence over policing. Nice one, Keith!

Also, there’s currently a huge controversy over the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that his Labour Party rightly opposes due to its introduction of a huge number of new offences (many in breach of our human rights) and draconian punishments for them.

Labour can’t stop the Tories from passing it into law. Does his new campaign mean Labour will enthusiastically support the punishment of these new offences, despite opposing their creation?

He also said the new Police Bill was a missed opportunity to stop violence against women and girls – taking his cue from the backlash against the policing of the Clapham Common vigil for Sarah Everard and the numerous protest demonstrations against police misbehaviour that have followed.

It is – but he didn’t say how he would improve that Bill to ensure that the law protects us, enshrines our human rights, and punishes police officers who cross the line into unlawful violence.

In other words, he gassed a lot of hot air at us. It doesn’t mean a thing.

If he thought we wouldn’t notice, he was sorely mistaken. Here are a few reactions from Twitter:

(This is obviously a reference to the year he has spent sitting on the fence, since he became Labour leader.)

Of them all, this is probably closest to the mark:

Source: Sir Keir Starmer vows law and order drive and hits out at Tories on crime | Evening Standard

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Review whitewashes Metropolitan police behaviour at Sarah Everard vigil

Is anybody surprised that Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has cleared the Metropolitan Police of any inappropriate behaviour at the Clapham Common vigil for Sarah Everard?

The review said the force “was justified in adopting the view that the risks of transmitting COVID-19 at the vigil were too great to ignore”.

So that made it reasonable to kettle these people – crowd them into an ever-smaller space, making those risks much greater, did it?

That made it reasonable to arrest these people, did it? Were they crammed like sardines in police vans? Were they crammed like sardines into cells?

Forcing people into close contact with each other seems an extremely odd way to combat a disease that is spread by close contact – especially people who had been very recently injured.

The review said “officers remained calm and professional when subjected to abuse” and “did not act inappropriately or in a heavy handed manner”.

So this wasn’t heavy-handed?

How about this?

Or this?

Hmm.

Like many others, I notice that there was no problem with the Duchess of Cambridge attending the event that Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick branded illegal.

Why wasn’t Kate Middleton attacked with a baton and bundled into a White Maria?

Ah, but she attended during daylight. The police didn’t move in and start hurting people until after dark. Now, why was that, do you think?

The report by Sky News makes it clear that the atmosphere did not turn hostile until the police started kettling people. Oh, the cops were telling people to leave, were they? How could they do that when the uniforms were cutting off their ability to go?

The bandstand was soon almost surrounded by officers and the atmosphere started to become more hostile. It was at this point that a number of women appeared to be shoved and people starting shouting at the police.

It seems clear to me that HM Inspectorate of Constabulary came to the conclusion it usually reaches – that the police can do no wrong.

How many attendees at the event were consulted during this review?

None, I’m betting.

No wonder the result was one-sided.

Let’s have a proper, public inquiry – then we’ll hear some uncomfortable facts (but of course, that will never happen).

Source: Met Police ‘acted appropriately’ at Sarah Everard vigil, review finds | UK News | Sky News

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#BristolRiot – after police retract serious injury claims, will Ian Austin please give back his peerage? [WARNING: VIDEO OF EXTREME POLICE VIOLENCE]

Bristol riot: there seem to be a huge number of images showing the police attacking members of the public – and none at all of police being on the receiving end. Just why were they on the streets with their batons, their dogs and their horses?

Isn’t it curious that, days after making a big song and dance about police suffering broken bones and a punctured lung at the Bristol riot (that they may have caused), the claims were retracted days later?

Avon and Somerset Chief Constable Andy Marsh admitted in a press conference that no officer of his had suffered a punctured lung.

And the force’s publicity department admitted that neither of the officers taken to hospital actually turned out to have broken bones.

The damage had been done, though – the public outraged at this apparent thuggery by people who had congregated in Bristol to protest against police mistreatment of women.

How will the police take back this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or – especially – this?

And, having consideration of all the above, shouldn’t Lord Ian Austin reconsider his position in public life, hand back his peerage, and go home to spend more time with his prejudices?

Just look at the state of this:

Austin, formerly a Labour MP, was ennobled by Boris Johnson to sit as a non-affiliated peer after he quit the party as led by Jeremy Corbyn, claiming that it had a “culture of extremism, anti-Semitism and intolerance”.

Strange. He seems to be both extreme and intolerant. If Labour under Corbyn really had been like that, he should have fitted right in.

Current evidence shows the police inflicting extreme violence on people – many of whom were sitting down and/or offering no resistance, while suffering very few injuries themselves (and how many were self-inflicted or accidental?).

Austin has indicated that he supports this brand of extreme violent activity against people who are defenceless.

That is unacceptable in a public representative.

Ah, but we live in an unaccountable dictatorship, don’t we? He’ll ignore all his critics and continue with his offensive ways.

Source: Police retract claims that officers suffered broken bones at Bristol protest

The Bristol riot – and how the media gaslight people into believing that protesters are perpetrators

It’s hard to tell which was the worst disgrace – the way the Bristol protest against an unjust piece of legislation was perverted into a riot or the way the media manipulated the story to blame the protesters.

I touched on this in my article about those events, much of which was based on what I saw on the social media. But it seems I was at least mostly right.

This means it is possible to reverse-engineer the ‘toolkit’ used by the mass media to convince us that these events were the opposite of what we have seen.

I’m grateful that I don’t even have to do much work on it – somebody has already done it.

(By the way, the author of the article is an anarchist. This means he’s someone who believes we should all take control of our own political lives and not hand that control over to members of political parties who are likely to be corrupt – and not someone who wants to reduce the nation to lawlessness, as certain media elements would like you to think. See how this works?)

So how do the media gaslight you into believing the police are the victims of a riot they have instigated? Let’s see…

First the press [respond] to the attack … by reporting it in ‘passive voice’. Reports stated ‘clashes occurred…’ or ‘clashes between protesters and police’. Words carefully chosen to not indicate who had started the clashes (the police) and who had been on the receiving end of the majority of the violence (those attending…) Whilst not technically a lie, the intention here is to avoid blaming the police, or to imply that the protesters were at fault. Of course had the protesters actually instigated the violence, the early reports would say exactly that, ‘crowds attack police’.

The article notes that reports use emotive language to describe members of the crowd, no matter what the event may be. So attendees at the vigil for Sarah Everard on Clapham Common were “protesters”:

People attending a vigil don’t sound very threatening or unlawful. Vigil invokes images of flowers, grief stricken speeches, candles, sadness. An accurate description of what had taken place on Clapham Common, but not the most useful if you want to paint the police positively. So many news outlets chose to term everyone present as ‘protesters’. Politicians, such as home secretary Priti Patel were quick to chime in condemning the ‘violence’ caused by ‘protesters’ at an ‘unlawful gathering’, and the press dutifully repeated these claims, often uncritically.

You’ve seen it; you know it’s what they do.

Next are the comments:

First they will report on any police injuries ‘six police received medical attention due to the protest’ they might say.

In the case of the Bristol protest, it was 20. I even commented on it in a tweet:

And how did they get their injuries?

Were they knocked out by an enraged protester with a bat… or did they feel faint from dehydration, trip over and crack a rib on a shield, catch their hand in a car door or break a finger bashing someone over the head?

Two more elements to take from the tweet: we were told that there had been arrests, and this immediately implies crime – or at the very least, the suspicion of crime.

And then there’s the fact that we never get statistics showing injuries among the crowd:

It is very rare that figures are collected for how many protesters were injured, and the assumption may be that this means that number is zero, and the police were thus on the receiving end of more violence than they dished out.

Another element is the othering of the crowd:

They’ll agree most of the thousands of people present were peaceful, support the cause, and shouldn’t have been attacked by the police. Then they will, in hushed tones, point out that there were a minority of THOSE PEOPLE present.

THOSE PEOPLE are, of course, the bogeypeople of the day: Black Lives Matter, Extinction Rebellion, ‘hardcore feminists’.

Labelling these people means they are othered – they aren’t us, they’re them – and this means they can be demonised:

They weren’t people like you and me, people rightly concerned about violence against women, and about police over reach. They were…

… well, they were whoever the media (and their political masters) want us to believe is “the enemy” of the day.

You will also see attempts to blame the victims of police violence:

They will talk about how the protesters stared shouting when police marched in.

Clapham Common and Bristol.

How there were swear words on placards.

“ACAB” – meaning “All Cops Are Bastards”. So, not even swear words on placards – just an acronym of which a swear word is a part. Politicians attacked protesters who used these at Westminster (protesting against what happened on Clapham Common) and Bristol.

“#KillTheBill” could be seen as brutally provocative – suggesting that we should murder police officers, perhaps?

How the event was an ‘unlawful gathering’.

Clapham Common and Bristol, again.

They will under no circumstances admit that the police may have escalated a calm situation or otherwise acted to make things worse.

Clapham Common and Bristol.

In the past police and press have even gone as far as suggesting police were right to assault a man in a wheelchair for rolling towards them ‘aggressively‘.

After that, the article states, we get the opinion pieces that throw away the ambiguous language and push the narrative on us wholeheartedly. I’m waiting for the headline Feminazis hijacked protest to castrate cops.

(That is one of the claims about Bristol, by the way:)

Dogs were repeatedly [deployed] throughout the night [despite] how dangerous that is for the protesters, for the dogs, and even for the police, at least one of whom very nearly got castrated by his charge.

Of course, it’s all very well for me (or a member of the Anarchist Federation) to say this happens. Can we see actual evidence of it?

Yes. Yes, we can:

The headline is Demonstrators against policing bill class with officers in Bristol. Almost exactly “clashes between protesters and police”, wouldn’t you say?

The BBC report on which I based my previous article is riddled with examples of the techniques listed above. Passive voice:

Protesters clashed with officers

Arrests and police injuries:

Eight people have already been arrested after 21 officers were injured.

(Clearly the report has been updated with an extra arrest.)

Othering:

Home Secretary Priti Patel accused some protesters of “thuggery”

Avon and Somerset Police Chief Constable Andy Marsh said the protest had been “hijacked by extremists”

Victim-blaming:

demonstrators scaled the station, threw fireworks into the crowd and daubed graffiti on the walls.

At times there were as few as 50 police officers, facing 100 or more violent protesters.

Denial that the police escalated an otherwise calm situation:

Horses and dogs were used to great effect, but their numbers have been cut in the last decade.

Let’s just remind ourselves of what happened, from eyewitness accounts:

Police had a choice, line up defensively by their station perhaps, even pull back a little, or escalate and create a dangerous and increasingly violent situation. They chose the latter, and sent in the dogs, literally in the case of the canine units who would soon deploy, and metaphorically in the case of the human officers who baton charged the crowd, striking at the heads of those standing, kicking folks on the floor, and even hitting a young woman sat on the floor hands raised telling them this was a peaceful protest. [Afed article]

During the chaos someone let off a few fireworks in the crowd. Potentially dangerous, but less dangerous than those police dogs who did get taken away at this point, spooked by the loud noises (its unclear if this was deliberate). [Afed again]

They horse charged people who were sitting down peacefully and then there was a w***er with a baton randomly hitting people and things escalated from there. I was watching the live feed for most of the event. [Annabella, Vox Political commenter]

You see how it works?

Well, now you know how it works, and you’ll be able to identify it when they do it again.

Source: What actually Happened in Bristol – and How a Narrative is Built

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Did POLICE turn Bristol ‘Kill the Bill’ protest into a riot?

Attack: this image from the Bristol Post was captioned “Bridewell police station under siege” but the only violence I see is by a policeman attacking a woman with a truncheon and a stick. What do you see?

It takes only one comment like this to reverse the narrative completely – and here it is, in two tweets:

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees may find himself on the receiving end of some very sharp reactions after he supported the police without waiting for the other side of the story!

He said: “Smashing buildings in our city centre, vandalising vehicles, attacking our police will do nothing to lessen the likelihood of the Bill going through. On the contrary, the lawlessness on show will be used as evidence and promote the need for the Bill.

“This is a shameful day in an incredible year for Bristol.

“We have had numerous protests. Our police, city representatives and I have been able to point out with pride that we have faced these moments of conflict without the physical conflict that others have experienced. Those who decided to turn today’s protest into a physical confrontation and smash our city have robbed us of this.”

What will he have to say if it turns out to be true that the police are “those who decided to turn [the] protest into a physical confrontation and smash [the] city”?

Considering the way the police in London treated a peaceful vigil on Clapham Common; or the way a drunken policeman assaulted a woman on her way home from work and walked free from court after admitting it; or the fact that a policeman is accused of kidnapping and murdering another woman who was on her way home from work…

Considering all the allegations of racist behaviour notched up against the police – not just last year during the Black Lives Matter protests but going back through the decades…

Considering this…

[The Battle of Orgreave, during the Miners’ Strike of 1984-5, was reported as happening because picketers attacked the police when in fact it was the police who attacked the picketers; reporters edited their footage to create a false story.]

Considering all of the above, it seems far more likely that the police were responsible for the violence in Bristol last night, rather than a few hundred people who were, at the time, sitting down.

If those people defended themselves, this is no reason to condemn them or their protest for descending into violence. Everybody has the right to defend themselves against unprovoked violent attack, no matter whether the attacker is in a uniform or not.

If Bristol’s police were ordered to turn this event into a riot so their political leaders could use it as justification for the draconian Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that will permit them to inflict brutal oppression on innocent people, then the plan appears to have backfired.

The peaceful protest was mostly over by the time they came out from the Bridewell. From a high point of around 3,000 people, their own figures say only around 500 were left when the violence began.

The others, having made their point, had gone home. No matter who started the violence, they have been smeared by the police claims.

And observers elsewhere have demonstrated that they are unimpressed by the protestations of the police and politicians – pointing out the future of protest under the Police Bill:

At the end of the day, there is a big question to be answered – and it’s one that would not even be considered if the police had not made themselves the puppets of Conservative governments many times in the past:

It is impossible to condemn the people for the Bristol ‘Kill the Bill’ riot when we know it is entirely possible that it was engineered by Priti Patel and the police.

Source: Bristol Kill the Bill protest ‘shameful’, says Marvin Rees – BBC News

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