3.0 / 5
Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner. As soon as those three names are mentioned there is nobody who would not recognise the subject matter at hand.
Sheku Bayoh, Sarah Reed. Suddenly the room has fallen silent. Their stories will be discussed in greater depth later in this article, but before that pause for a moment. How many people can say they really recognised those names? It is more than likely that the number was significantly lower, than when the first three names were mentioned.
In fact, a significant number of people were not aware of the increasing number of police brutality cases in the UK until Dave made mention of Rashan Charles and Edison Da Costa in his ‘Question time’ track. Hats off to Dave for raising awareness on such a pressing matter. But the reality is the onus is not on celebrities, musicians or anyone else to shed light on the issues our society is grappling with. Of course, their support and attention is always welcomed but education on these matters should begin within our own communities.
Before this moves any further a short disclaimer. This article is not intended to take away from the struggle that our friends across the pond face on a daily basis. But rather to motivate those in the UK to address the issues staring each and everyone one of us in the face. Time after time the issues faced by the British public, particularly those of a BAME background are swept under the carpet, but where will that end?
It is time to educate ourselves – beginning today.
According to the Law Dictionary, Police brutality is the use of excessive and/or unnecessary force by police when dealing with civilians, with excessive force being defined as force which goes beyond that which was necessary to handle the situation.
Data from Britain’s largest police force showed force of varying degrees was used 139 times a day in London on average, which equates to once every 10 minutes. Understandably, not all of these encounters result in death or serious harm but surely the ones that do cannot be ignored?
Even with these cases there are still those who refuse to acknowledge police brutality as an issue in the UK.
In January 2016, Sarah Reed, a 32-year-old lady with mental health issues, was found dead in her cell  in Holloway prison, where she was held awaiting trial. She had previously reported being sexually assaulted while being detained in October 2012, and in November 2012 she was viciously beaten up by a police officer. This particular attack was caught on camera . The officer in question was fired from the force and given a community service order. This is one of the few cases in which the police force was held responsible for their actions. Nonetheless her death was entirely avoidable.
On 3 May 2015, Sheku Bayoh, a British-Sierra Leonean man died after being arrested by police in Scotland. The Father of two was detained, handcuffed, pepper-sprayed, and put in leg restraints following an alleged altercation with a police officer. Evidence from a post-mortem examination suggested that he died of positional asphyxia [Chocking/suffocation] after being pinned to the ground by four officers.
These incidents were only two of thousands to happen across the UK.
The latest incident and the trigger of this article was Terrell De costa Jones-Burton. A 15-year-old boy who suffered horrific injuries while being detained by officers in November this year.
How many more needless deaths or injuries need to occur before the UK recognises it has a problem?
Step one: education. The hope is that articles like this one are a move in the right direction, enlightening people with the facts and figures they need to beginning real discussions on the issue. Step two: protest. Sign petitions, rally, use your voice. No real change can happen until the government implants legislation in favour of protecting its civilians.
This article is not advising you to overthrow the system but simply stating that you have a voice and the power to effect change, so use it.