Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/933/24307
Bristol police taser own race relations adviser
Fight for community control of police policy and hiring
Tom Baldwin, Bristol South Socialist Party
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.
In The Socialist 25 January 2017:
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