Tag Archives: Metropolitan

Dawn Butler: where’s Starmer’s support for his MP, as campaign to get Cressida #DickOut of Met Police begins

Struck dumb: faced with clear racism against a Labour MP by the police he so staunchly supports, what does Keir Starmer do? He HESITATES.

Public support for Labour MP Dawn Butler is growing, along with a campaign for the removal of Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick – but her own party leader, Keir Starmer, is silent. Why?

Starmer – a former Director of Public Prosecutions and a staunch supporter of the police – has been on the social media since the car in which Ms Butler was travelling was stopped under false pretences by police yesterday (August 9). So have many of his right-wing – sorry, centrist – lieutenants. But they haven’t had a word to say about it.

The new New Labour leader has been struggling with his attitude to racism after his many attempts to end the anti-Semitism controversy in the Labour Party came unstuck when confronted by the facts, and after his comments about Black Lives Matter showed him up as a hypocrite.

Now, faced with a clear example of police racism and the racial profiling of his MP, Starmer is hesitating. Would he really rather side with the racists?

Perhaps he would feel more comfortable siding with the liars who have crawled out from the virtual woodwork of the social media to attack Ms Butler with false claims that she “flipped” the video she took of the incident and that her passenger was white (and not black). But these have been shown to be nonsense:

Perhaps Mr Starmer would feel more comfortable siding with Tory London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey, who doesn’t seem to understand institutional racism…

… and whose attitude to racial profiling changes according to whatever he thinks is politically expedient:

Starmer’s silence is deafening – and the commentariat is flagging it up:

This is far from the first incident involving the police targeting cars with black drivers and passengers – in fact, black people are far more likely to be stopped and searched for flimsy reasons than white people. One of the excuses offered to Ms Butler was that tinted rear windows may be illegal (the law says they’re not) and this is an old favourite among the Met stop-and-search gang.

Ms Butler herself has pointed out that it is 20 years since the Macpherson Report labelled the Met Police as “institutionally racist” but nothing has been done to change the situation.

So now a campaign has sprung up online to remove current Met Commissioner, Cressida Dick – under whose control the current situation has worsened:

Oh, and are we interested in the difference between the way the police treated Ms Butler – an MP – and the way they treated Dominic Cummings, who is only an MP’s advisor?

UPDATE 5.45pm, August 10: Starmer has finally broken his silence on Twitter – although it really wasn’t worth the wait. You can see his comment here, along with some responses to it.

I’m particularly drawn to the reply that states: “You were too sh*t scared to make a public comment because you hadn’t focus grouped it. Jesus. Spineless.” It sums up Starmer in a nutshell.

Other comments assert that Labour staffers – for whom Starmer has apparently shown support – have carried out racial profiling on some of the party’s black MPs.

This is a pathetic showing from a weak man who is unfit to lead.

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MP stopped by police in London for ‘driving around whilst black’

Dawn Butler: she’s proved many times that she is an MP who actually cares about her constituents’ lives – but that won’t stop her being victimised by Metropolitan police.

Almost exactly a month after two black athletes were stopped and handcuffed by Metropolitan police, Brent MP Dawn Butler has suffered the same humiliation. For the same reason?

Ms Butler, a Labour MP, was stopped while travelling as a passenger with a friend, who is also black.

Police who stopped her said the car was registered in North Yorkshire – but changed their tune after they realised who they had pulled over, and said they had input the licence plate into their system incorrectly.

A likely story!

This was the third time Ms Butler has been stopped and searched by police since she became a member of Parliament. She described it in the video she took of the incident as follows:

 It’s like you cannot drive around and enjoy a Sunday afternoon whilst black.

Her friend, who was driving, has been stopped “regularly”, according to the Guardian‘s report. In that case, Met police officers should have got the hang of tapping his plate number into their system (I would have thought).

On July 8, athletes Ricardo dos Santos and Bianca Williams were stopped and handcuffed while their three-month-old son was left in the car.

No social distancing procedures were followed in that incident and it seems unlikely that any were employed in that involving Ms Butler.

According to the Guardian,

Another officer, a woman, had “inflamed the situation” by saying tinted rear windows on the car could be illegal.

How interesting that Met officers are still using this hoary old chestnut after being called out on it after the July incident – and on previous occasions, when the tints were all found to be entirely legal.

In this case

The law about tinting on windows applies only to the windscreen and front windows.

In fairness, the Met response to Ms Butler’s report of the incident has been much more reasonable than to the athletes.

Is that because, in addition to being black, she is a member of Parlament?

Source: Labour MP Dawn Butler stopped by police in London | UK news | The Guardian

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Met police refers itself to police watchdog over stop-and-search of athletes’ car

That was quick.

This Writer only published Vox Political‘s story about the Metropolitan police targeting black athletes Ricardo dos Santos, Bianca Williams and their three-month-old baby for a stop/search a couple of hours ago, and already the case has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct!

If you want something to happen, get me to write about it.

But seriously…

It actually took several days and the threat of a court case for this matter to be referred to the IOPC, and This Writer is concerned that we’ll see another stitch-up.

The IOPC blotted its copy book with its whitewashing of the relationship between Boris Johnson and Jennifer Arcuri, and I fear that any investigation of this case will go the same way.

It occur to me that, if the IOPC – and the police in general – want us to accept any verdict on this, we’ll have to see all the evidence when the report comes in.

That seems the best way to ensure fairness. Don’t you agree?

The Metropolitan Police has referred itself to the police watchdog over the actions of its officers in a stop and search involving athlete Bianca Williams.

The 26-year-old Team GB sprinter was dragged from the vehicle and handcuffed in Maida Vale, West London on Saturday along with partner Ricardo dos Santos, a Portuguese 400m runner, in front of their three month-old-son.

The athlete has since accused the Met of racial profiling – telling LBC radio she believes they were stopped because the car is all black and her partner is a black man. “There is no other reason,” she added.

Source: Bianca Williams: Metropolitan Police refers itself to watchdog after stopping Team GB athlete’s car | The Independent

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Are you convinced by the Met police’s excuse for incident with Linford Christie athletes?

I’m not.

The Metropolitan Police say they were well within their rights to stop – and handcuff – athletes Ricardo dos Santos and Bianca Williams while their three-month-old son was left in their car.

Linford Christie – yes, that Linford Christie, the UK’s most successful sprinter, and a mentor of both athletes – posted video of the incident on Twitter. It’s quite disturbing:

He also posted a statement:

“Two of my athletes were stopped by the police today [July 4], both international athletes, both parents of a three month old baby who was with them and both handcuffed outside of their home,” he wrote.

“Can Cressida Dick or anyone please explain to me what justication the Met Police officers had in assaulting the driver, taking a mother away from her baby all without one piece of PPE and then calling the sniffer dog unit to check the car over?

“Was it the car that was suspicious or the black family in it which led to such a violent confrontation and finally an accusation of the car smelling of weed but refusing to do a roadside drug test?

“This is not the first time this has happened (second time in two months) and I’m sure it won’t be the last but this type of abuse of power and institutionalised racism cannot be justified or normalised any long #BLM #MetPoliceRacist.”

Now here’s the Met’s rationalisation:

The stop took place at about 1.25pm and was executed by the Territorial Support Group, which was patrolling the area in response to an increase in violence involving weapons.

The Met said the vehicle had blacked-out windows and was “driving suspiciously”, including being on the wrong side of the road. It said when officers indicated for it to stop, the car sped off. Officers caught up with the vehicle when it stopped on Lanhill Road, but the driver initially refused to get out of the car, the Met said.

The occupants, a 25-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman, were detained for the purposes of a search under section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, the statement continued. After nothing was found on their person or in the vehicle, no arrests were made and the pair were released.

Has anyone seen evidence that these athletes were driving on the wrong side of the road? I haven’t.

And the “blacked-out windows” excuse has been used on black people before – and been found to be false, with the tints found to be within legal levels.

“The car sped off.” Did it, though? If you’re travelling in a built-up area – in London! – and the police turn up behind you, telling you to stop, it seems unlikely that’ you’re going to get too far. Maybe that’s just my impression.

Linford Christie is, of course, intimately familiar with institutional racism, after he won Olympic Gold in the 100m in August 1992 and the press belittled the achievement – he was only the second British athlete to manage it since Harold Abrahams in 1924 – by cultivating an unhealthy obsession with his euphemistically-titled “lunchbox”.

I think there’s more to this than the Met have admitted and the facts should come out.

Why did police really stop this car?

Was it because the occupants were black?

Reports say the couple are seriously considering taking the Met to court and I think they should. Agreed?

Source: Met police deny misconduct after Linford Christie athletes stopped | UK news | The Guardian

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Police smash car window of black man returning from TV interview about police racism

Is it any wonder black people react badly to the police when this is the way they can expect to be treated?

Once again, we’re seeing racism from the Metropolitan Police.

Where is the commissioner of that “service”, Cressida Dick?

Why is she not ripping out the racism, root and branch?

And what about City of London Police? What’s their excuse?

Look at the state of this:

When an officer smashed in the window of Ryan Colaço’s car, after he was wrongly accused of concealing drugs, they did not know he was driving home from a TV interview in which he told of institutional racism in the police after being stopped and searched the week before.

In the original incident, in Northumberland Park, north London, at 11am on 23 May, Colaço said he was stopped after being “aggressively tailgated” by the Metropolitan police, with officers then running to his car and banging on his window. They later said they had been able to smell cannabis from his car.

As he queried why he was being stopped, Colaço, 30, was forced into handcuffs, video footage shows. He agreed to leave his car and stood with officers who searched him, while others combed through his BMW and found nothing.

“I’ve never in my life ever handled or taken any drug,” he said. “I felt like they were just trying to incriminate me. After the way I’ve been treated over the years, I don’t trust them. They stop you and then find a reason to justify their stop.”

Colaço, whose job involves helping to find locations for films, said he had been searched about 20 times, but did not have a criminal record. He faces the possibility of a court hearing for obstructing a drugs search after he was released under investigation after his arrest as a result of the second incident.

On 29 May, driving home from an interview with Channel 4 after his video of the first incident gained attention on social media, he was stopped again at about 4.30pm, near Cannon Street station in central London.

As he questioned why City of London police officers wanted to search him, after they had alleged he was “dashing stuff up in his waistband”, footage shows his window was smashed in.

“There were two officers at first – within minutes I was surrounded,” he said. “It was a very intimidating situation. Clearly nothing was dashed in my waistband. My safety was not taken into consideration when they broke that window. I told him I would come out, but just didn’t want to be put in handcuffs.”

Officers hauled him from his car and forced him to the ground, hitting his head against the ground before he was thrown face-first against a wall, Colaço said, causing him severe headaches. He was handcuffed, drug-tested, taken to the station and strip-searched before spending hours in a cell before being released about 12 hours later, with nothing having been found.

He had to walk a mile at about 5am to retrieve his car, which had been impounded. During the walk, he was approached by officers in a vehicle who pulled over to ask why he was out and about. Colaço then had to wait till 9.30am to be given his car.

“When the officer drove my car out, I saw there was still glass everywhere,” he said. “I had my head in my hands. They said they won’t clean the glass or pay for the window and my car was trashed too. The fact this all happened as I was coming back from an interview about getting stopped: you couldn’t make it up.”

Source: Police smash car window of man on way home from C4 interview about police racism | UK news | The Guardian

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Police who took selfies next to black women’s dead bodies prove the Met is institutionally racist

Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry: after ignoring reports that they were missing, police who attended when the bodies were found took selfies with them and sent the images to members of the public.

I’m sure you all remember the wave of horror and outrage at the double murder of two black women in Wembley Park, London, earlier this month and the utter indifference of the police who had been told they were missing.

No?

That’s because there wasn’t one – mostly because it wasn’t reported.

Now it has emerged that police officers who were directed to the bodies by the boyfriend of one of the victims – who had gone out to find them himself after the Metropolitan police showed no interest – took selfies of themselves with the bodies and sent the images to members of the public.

Read the end of the above paragraph again.

Instead of carrying out their duty in a reasonable and responsible way, police officers thought it would be a giggle to take photos of themselves with the bodies of murdered black women, and to then send those images to friends – and not just friends in the police, which would have been bad enough, but members of the general public.

There is only one conclusion to be drawn: These were racists who considered Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry to be less than human because of the colour of their skin, and that their dead bodies were therefore playthings to be treated with contempt.

Met police commissioner Cressida Dick has claimed her entire force would condemn this behaviour – but that is not what we see.

We see a police service that is racist to the core.

This is not an isolated incident. It is a symptom of a general pattern of behaviour for which Dick must take responsibility. The organisation she heads is institutionally racist and a figurehead of the systemic racism that plagues the United Kingdom.

For those who aren’t familiar with the details – and I imagine that’s most of you – let’s run over them:

The mother of two sisters murdered in a park said her grief had “been taken to another place” after two officers were suspended amid allegations they took selfies next to their bodies.

Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry were stabbed to death at a park in Wembley earlier this month. Ms Smallman, 27, had been with friends celebrating Ms Henry’s 46th birthday at the park on the evening of 5 June. Detectives believe they were killed by a stranger who repeatedly stabbed them in the early hours of 6 June – their bodies were not found until the following day.

Mina Smallman has complained about the Met’s initial response – saying she had to organise a search for her daughters.

Mrs Smallman said she had coordinated a search operation on weekend her daughters died and it was Nicole’s boyfriend, Adam, who found the sisters’ bodies and the murder weapon.

She says the police were “making assumptions” when they didn’t immediately respond when the sisters were first reported missing.

It’s actually worse than that. Did these women die because police refused to take action?

“I knew instantly why they didn’t care. They didn’t care because they looked at my daughter’s address and thought they knew who she was.

“A black woman who lives on a council estate.”

Speaking to the BBC, Mrs Smallman, the former Archdeacon of Southend, said the pictures “dehumanised” her children.

Mrs Smallman said she was told the photos showed the girls’ faces and she fears the images will appear on the internet.

“This has taken our grief to another place,” she said.

“If ever we needed an example of how toxic it has become, those police officers felt so safe, so untouchable, that they felt they could take photographs of dead black girls and send them on.

“It speaks volumes of the ethos that runs through the Metropolitan Police.”

The Met said two officers had been arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office and suspended from duty.

No-one has been charged with the murders.

Here‘s what Dick had to say for herself:

Dame Cressida said: “I don’t know all the details but if it is as it appears to be then it is shocking.

“It is disgusting and the whole of the Met would condemn what has happened here.

How has this culture been allowed to fester? I’d suggest it happened in the same way Dick was able to shrug off questions about institutional racism in the BBC’s report:

Asked if she accepted criticism that there may have been an element of institutional racism in the police response to the double murder, Dame Cressida said: “This is a horrible, horrible double murder of two beautiful young women.

“My heart goes out to their family. It is just appalling.

“We have an enormous investigation, very well resourced and using all the expertise not just in London but all across the country and beyond.”

That’s not an answer to the question.

Was she unable to answer it?

We all know that, after she became Met Commissioner in 2017, Dick called for “tougher sentences” to be applied to “teenage thugs” in London who she emphasised as being “black” and “Asian”, although there is no strong racial characteristic to the crimes she was highlighting.

So, if she is trying to claim that there isn’t any racism in the Met, perhaps it’s along the same lines as the subject of this poem:

We need a root and branch reform of the Met. It is no good attacking symptoms – it’s time to rid ourselves of the cause.

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Appalling police brutality in the UK, but was it racism – or disablism?

Police brutality: the man under the two police officers had a blue ‘disabled’ badge for his car. He was parked legally on a single yellow line when these two officers demanded he move the car. He refused so they beat him senseless, breaking a finger in the process.

This is not an incident from the demonstrations against police violence against black and minority ethnic people over the last week or so.

It happened last year – in London.

James McAsh explains it perfectly well in his Twitter thread so I’ll hand over to him:

Youness Bentahar, I’m guessing, is not ethnically “White British”. He also had a blue badge for disabled drivers (or those who drive for disabled people). As such, he was entitled to park where he was and the police had no right or reason to ask him to move his vehicle.

But they still beat him senseless, breaking a finger at one point and using handcuffs as knuckledusters to punch him (in the kidneys?) at another.

Should Mr Bentahar have meekly allowed police to arrest him? Mr McAsh argues that it would mean black people who have committed no crimes should allow the police to harass them or commit violence.

But as a disabled man – or somebody driving for a disabled person – he would also have had a responsibility, either to the disabled person for whom he was driving – to carry out the job he’d been asked to do, or to himself – to avoid being taken to a police station where the extra needs of his disability may be ignored (and let’s face it, that’s what the video evidence here suggests).

Who told these police officers they could behave in this manner towards a person from an ethnic minority?

Who said it was all right for them to victimise a person who was disabled – or was acting for a disabled person?

As this happened in London, we may conclude that these were Metropolitan Police officers.

Their commissioner would be Cressida Dick. Perhaps she would like to answer these questions?

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Criminal evidence on Vote Leave handed to CPS. Will Boris Johnson go to Number 10 – or jail?

How can Boris Johnson show his face on the election trail when he may face criminal charges as part of the Vote Leave campaign?

That is the big question. Some may deny it – but they’ll be the ones who say Labour is a disgrace for being investigated by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission over trumped-up allegations of anti-Semitism. Hypocrisy?

It is true that Mr Johnson will be among those implicated in the criminal evidence that has been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service by the Metropolitan Police after a 16-month investigation.

Vote Leave has denied any wrongdoing but the formal referral by the police means they are seeking advice on how to build the case against that organisation, and where they need further evidence to advance the prospect of charges being brought.

In practise, this means any actual prosecution is still a long way away.

But the timing could not be worse for Mr Johnson.

It links his – and chief adviser Dominic Cummings – to possible criminal charges at a time when he is trying to pretend he is trustworthy enough to lead the United Kingdom.

And of course, this is also a time when he has failed to achieve Brexit on the date he said he would.

Worse still, it comes after the Met dropped an investigation into rival Leave campaign Leave.EU, fronted by Arron Banks, due to a lack of evidence. The fact that an investigation against Mr Johnson’s team is still ongoing is even more damning in contrast with that.

Most damning of all is the fact that Mr Johnson is trying to fight a Brexit election based on a campaign won through potentially criminal activity. He is harming the integrity of the electoral system by continuing to stand as a candidate.

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‘Degrading and humiliating’ – why do police treat disabled people so badly?

Targeted: Is the Met police’s ill-treatment of disabled people part of an overarching policy of discrimination against them?

The Metropolitan Police has been accused of “degrading and humiliating” treatment of people with disabilities who took part in the Extinction Rebellion protests in London.

In isolation, this would be bad enough – but it is just the latest in a series of incidents targeting disabled protesters, by forces across the UK.

Now the Met’s independent advisory group says the bullying that took place may have caused “irreparable damage” to relations with disabled people.

Stop and think about that. This isn’t just a public relations problem – it’s a disaster for the police: “irreparable damage.”

According to The Guardian, advisory group chair Anne Novis said everybody in that organisation – all of them – were on the point of resigning because of the stories they were hearing from disabled people.

This is entirely understandable. The claim is that people with disabilities were deliberately and aggressively targeted by police.

Here’s an example of what police were doing: When a disabled protester outside Scotland Yard needed a carer to adjust her supplemental oxygen and provide other medicine, police arrested both on the grounds that they were an illegal assembly.

They had been there to protest after police had confiscated independent living equipment including wheelchairs, disability ramps, noise-cancelling headphones, specially adapted toilets and other items intended to make protest sites accessible to disabled people.

Another incident saw a blind protester released without his cane. And left to get home without any help at all.

Legal observers for Extinction Rebellion said they had expected violence by police – but had not reckoned on it being almost exclusively directed at disabled people in what appeared to be a “deliberate intimidation tactic”.

The Met has claimed that it does not single out any minority group or community – but this is unpersuasive in the light of the mountain of evidence against it.

And it seems part of a nationwide policy to target the disabled. Remember when anti-fracking protesters in Lancashire were targeted by police?

Those people then faced a secondary attack from the Department for Work and Pensions, who claimed that they did not deserve sickness and/or disability benefits because they were well enough to take part in a protest. Remember that?

We discovered then that the police had an agreement to share information on protesters with the DWP, precisely to help that government department unfairly strip disabled people of their benefits.

Loss of state benefits – for a disabled person – has led to starvation, the worsening of their condition through lack of medication, and – in some cases – suicide.

It may be considered an attempt to pass a death sentence on them, simply for daring to protest against something that is wrong.

Has the Met passed the details of the disabled XR protesters to the DWP, in the hope of forcing them into that fate?

I don’t know. But I feel sure we will find out.

Let us hope that we do so before it is too late.

Source: Met police accused of ‘degrading’ treatment of disabled XR activists | UK news | The Guardian

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Met police investigation into alleged anti-Semitic hate crimes in the Labour Party is a welcome move

This is to be welcomed in many ways – although the fact that the file was leaked to police shows that Labour still has an internal security problem.

Information about the allegations of anti-Semitism against This Writer was leaked to The Sunday Times in February – false information claiming that I was a Holocaust denier.

The lies were taken up by others and I have spent the last nine months pursuing the newspapers involved through the press regulator IPSO, with a series of victories to prove my innocence.

I will soon attend a Labour Party disciplinary hearing at which I hope to disprove the allegations. I have launched a crowdfunding campaign for the funds to take my accusers to court and gain compensation for the harm they have caused me. Anyone who would like to see justice done is invited to visit my JustGiving page and make a donation, no matter how large or small.

So there is evidence to show that someone very high in the Labour hierarchy – a member of the ruling National Executive Committee or someone working for that body – is maliciously spreading lies about alleged anti-Semitism.

That is the aspect of this case that is unwelcome.

But hate crime of any kind should be investigated and prosecuted, and I don’t know why Labour didn’t pass on details of any such crime to the police – especially if those details had been investigated and proved according to the party’s own systems.

Is this an admission that what Labour considers to be anti-Semitic activity would not qualify as such according to police standards?

It seems we’re about to find out.

Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “If somebody passes us material which they say amounts to a crime, we have a duty to look at that and not to dismiss it.”

That’s true – and makes an important point about the so-called Macpherson Principle.

Some commentators, who should know better, have been trying to claim that an allegation that someone has committed an anti-Semitic crime means that they are guilty; if a Jewish person says that they have been a victim of anti-Semitism, that is all the proof that is needed.

It is heartening to see the police commissioner affirming that this would not meet the standards expected of a criminal investigation. Macpherson in fact stated that allegations of anti-Semitism should be recorded as such, but the police would still have to carry out a full investigation and determine for themselves whether such a crime had been committed.

That is what makes this investigation worthwhile.

These allegations will be examined according to the requirements of the law of the land.

If people who have been accused are found innocent – after Labour’s system condemned them – it will raise serious questions about the party’s system.

If people who have been accused are taken to court and convicted, then a hate criminal will have been identified and punished.

This is a win-win situation – in spite, I think, of the person who created it.

Scotland Yard has begun a criminal investigation into allegations of antisemitic hate crimes within the Labour Party, police said.

Specialist officers looking through a leaked internal dossier of cases are begun a inquiry into some of the allegations, the Met said in a statement.

Detectives have already sought “early investigative advice” from lawyers working with the Crown Prosecution Service.

The investigation is centring on a folder of paperwork compiled by Labour Party staff on cases of alleged antisemitism by Labour activists and members.

It was leaked to the LBC radio station, who then gave a copy to the Met Commissioner Cressida Dick after an interview in September.

Source: Criminal investigation launched into ‘antisemitic hate crimes’ within Labour Party | The Independent

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