Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Discussions about serious topics, for serious people
User avatar
Fishnut
Dorkwood
Posts: 1497
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:15 pm
Location: UK

Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by Fishnut » Wed Mar 24, 2021 1:06 pm

Last night there was a peaceful protest in central Bristol focused on College Green against the trespass section of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. The protestors had put up tents and banners on College Green and claimed they had been given permission by Avon & Somerset Police to stay overnight. The police on the ground then appear to have either changed their mind or had not been told about this permission (or the protestor was lying about having been given permission) and at around 10pm announced that people had to disperse "or force may be used". Protestors say they were peaceful and were not doing anything to aggravate the police. This is 3 hours of footage from College Green that was livestreamed yesterday and from the parts I've looked at (and I will admit I haven't watched it all) it corroborates this view.

Shortly after 10pm the police began clearing College Green of protestors. There is plenty of video from multiple locations doing the rounds on Twitter showing police confronting protestors who are mostly sitting on the ground. This thread has a series of videos from the police clearing the protestors from College Green. Here you can see police grabbing a protestor by the hair and dragging them off the ground. There were riot police and mounted police (mounted police can be seen behind riot police in this video and here they are being used to disperse protestors).

I've seen estimates that there were between 150-200 protestors. Bristol Live reports there were "more than 200 police officers". One might be inclined to call a 1:1 ratio of peaceful protestor to police a bit excessive.

It was not just protestors who faced the ire of the police. Here a police officer threatens and manhandles a journalist in scenes reminiscent (though fortunately nowhere near as violent) of the US police during the BLM protestors last summer.

The Bristol Live report is the most even-handed I've seen of the mainstream media reports, most have been uncritically supportive of the police. A BBC reporter was called out for posting and then deleting without explanation a tweet that read "Riot police with dogs as arrests are made after Bristol's second protest in three days turns ugly. It was peaceful before police arrived." The Guardian decided to do free PR for the police, repeating their press release and comments given to the BBC this morning. Nowhere in the piece does the journalist attempt to give any sort of balance. I've done minimal searching for articles from the rest of the media to protect my blood pressure but The Daily Mail has quite the take, focusing on the presence of a naked woman protestor and providing multiple photos from different angles to make sure we are in no doubt that there was a naked woman protesting last night. Classy, as always. Mic Wright (who I've only recently discovered but highly recommend) has an excellent piece examining the way in which journalists have given up any pretence of acting as scrutinisers of authority but are instead their willing and complicit mouthpieces.

It's not new or controversial to state that the media are not doing their job of holding the government and authorities to account. Honestly, I don't know if they ever really have. I'm not a scholar of media but I feel that more often than not they hide scandals rather than expose them. Just thinking back to the Catholic Church abuse scandal, there were plenty of opportunities for the press to uncover the abuse, in multiple countries over multiple decades but they did nothing. And I know the media landscape is under unprecedented pressure due to lack of funding and people abandoning traditional outlets in favour of more individualised reporting. But turning into the mouthpieces of the authorities is not the solution.
it's okay to say "I don't know"

User avatar
Bird on a Fire
Princess POW
Posts: 6861
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:05 pm
Location: Portugal

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Mar 24, 2021 1:31 pm

Yes. The same sort of thing happened during the student protests against fee increases in 2010/11, other anti austerity protests, XR protests, BLM protests.

The police hit kids with clubs, throw disabled people out of wheelchairs and set dogs and horses on peaceful groups if they stand in the wrong place.

The media reliable uses photos from after the police escalate the situation to create a narrative that it was violent all along, justifying the police response. Which is weird, because their journalists were there on the ground and know what happened.
He has the grace of a swan, the wisdom of an owl, and the eye of an eagle—ladies and gentlemen, this man is for the birds!

User avatar
warumich
Clardic Fug
Posts: 196
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:49 pm

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by warumich » Wed Mar 24, 2021 3:53 pm

At the same we need to keep a wider perspective on who the police are, why they are working like they do, and what their perspective is, if we want to get a handle of what is going on in these instances, and how things can improve. What I'll write below is not intended as an excuse for any of the things that happened, in Bristol, London, the BLM protests, or the wider dismissive attitudes and low conviction rates and misogynism that you have documented so clearly in the other thread (thanks for that btw). Instead, think of the social scientists who try to understand ISIS; as you know that they are often being accused of being terrorist sympathisers by populist politicians, and I'm sure you agree this is not the case. So please take this post in a similar spirit please.

I used to work in the legal department of the regional headquarters of a police force (not the Met). I was young and needed the money. Anyway, this was not too long after the Lawrence enquiry (that dates me!), and my colleagues were all acutely aware of it and its implications. Our boss was a black man from Tottenham, our resident barrister was a black woman, and her deputy was a Sinhalese woman with a PhD in gender studies. I can't say there wouldn't have been racist and misogynist attitudes and banter among the officers on the floor below. But not in our office, and it would never have been tolerated there. We prepared cases to send to the CPS, so we had to make decisions on whether to proceed with things, whether there is enough evidence, or whether it is in the public interest to proceed etc. These criteria were clearly defined though, and decisions were not made on whether we reckoned something or whether we liked or disliked anyone. If anything I believe the default position was that if it's a difficult decision we'd err on the side of sending it to the CPS and letting them sort it out. If conviction rates for a particular crime are low, or if the rate of cases that even get to that stage is low, then it's the fault of the law that we had to apply in making these decisions, rather than the police itself. At least once they got to our office. But judging by the amount of flimsy files some of the officers sent us, I believe their attitude was also one of "just send everything upstairs and let them sort it out", rather than any conscious effort to keep conviction rates low for certain crimes. But all that is my experience, of just one particular force (which is not the one people worry about) and 15 years ago, so things may have changed and may be different in other places. And I was just an office junior so I wouldn't have seen everything that's going on.

However, I can tell you straight out that I would never be tempted to be a police officer, not for double the salary (by which I mean my current salary, not the flimsy public sector wages actual police officers get). Your day to day working life routinely puts you in a position of physical harm (handling peaceful protesters gets the headlines, but most of the interactions officers have is with genuinely dangerous people); our dept was stuffed with ex-patrol officers who sustained enough permanent physical injuries to require them to be relocated to sedentary office work. They are the people who have to pick up body parts after a homicide, a traffic accident, or a suicide by train. Afterwards they have to inform and comfort grieving relatives. They have to regularly work weekends and night shifts, and cancel holidays if there is an emergency. They were there during lockdown, working as normal on the streets risking covid while the rest of the nation complained about having run out of netflix to watch.

And the thanks they get is to be called misogynistic racist pigs by a section of society that they pride themselves in trying to protect nonetheless. What motivates anyone to do that sh.tty job? If you talk to officers you'll find that many are motivated by the idea of providing a public service, a sense of duty, they feel they are doing a vital job that needs doing, they're often putting their lives on the line for this. They are above all human beings, and they are genuinely hurt by being dismissed as pigs (and I have heard that directly from colleagues). And that can push people into the defensive. Shouldn't, but does, and it's a natural human reaction. And then also breeds overreactions as we see in the recent protests. Again I want to be careful here that trying to provide an explanation is not the same as providing an excuse. All these things shouldn't've happened.

And it is not to say that these noble motivations noted above are the only ones. Some see it as a respectable job, an aspirational one even for working class people aiming to move up to lower middle class. Some will be motivated by the power they get to wield over other people, or other genuinely worrying reasons, I'm sure that's there too and happening far too often. But as a profession that is generally drawn from a cross-section of a mostly working and lower middle class population, their own personal attitudes are a reflection of the views prevalent in that population. So if there is a problem of racism, xenophobia or misogynism in the police force - and I'm not disputing this is the case - it's a problem of wider UK society, and how we as a society treat the working classes and their aspirations. Our tabloids and populist politicians tell the working classes that their struggles are due to foreigners taking their jobs, or asylum seekers taking all the flatscreen TVs, and if you then recruit your police force from that population, you'll get a police force that mirrors these attitudes.

Typical sociologist answer this, but yes a lot of it does boil down to class, yet again. But my point is then, that while there is a problem, it is a problem of British society, the country as a whole is racist, misogynist and homophobic and our police force will reflect this - amplified in its effects unfortunately due to the nature of the role the police performs. But railing at the police is not enough. Your Daily Mail reading grandma is as much a part of the problem as is Inspector Williams from the Plod.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk
I've never had a signature, and it never did me any harm

User avatar
Brightonian
Catbabel
Posts: 819
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:16 pm
Location: Usually UK, often France and Ireland

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by Brightonian » Wed Mar 24, 2021 8:09 pm

One officer was initially reported to have a broken arm, but police have now confirmed no officers suffered broken bones.
https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bris ... re-5222210

User avatar
Fishnut
Dorkwood
Posts: 1497
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:15 pm
Location: UK

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by Fishnut » Wed Mar 24, 2021 8:41 pm

warumich wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 3:53 pm

[really interesting stuff]
You're right that a lot of people probably do join the police to do good in their communities, and they see the worst of people on a regular basis which no doubt affects your attitude and approach in the long-term. The job description is very broad, and one might say it is too broad. Are the police really the best people to be picking up body parts or telling someone that a family member has died? It feels like, to some extent, the police force has become the dumping ground for all the unpleasant jobs that no-one else wants to do.

Your experience in the legal department sounds fascinating! I think it highlights quite nicely that the individuals working in a system can all have honourable intentions but if they operate in a systemically-biased institution it doesn't always matter. The Macpherson Inquiry and the Lammy Review both highlighted institutional racism throughout the criminal justice system. I don't know enough about the way British laws are set up but I know in the US there is a long history of using "criminal law, policing, and imprisonment as proxies for exerting social control in predominantly black communities" [source]. I wouldn't be at all surprised if there's similar biases in UK laws. What we choose to criminalise and what we don't can have massive implications - just look at the traveller communities who will be, if the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill passes in its current form, incapable of continuing their way of life while remaining in the bounds of the law.

I think the reason the police response to the Bristol protests has been so shocking is because their approach is in stark contrast to the way they handled the BLM protests last summer. They actively decided to stand back, not engage and not escalate the situation. I can't help but think that, despite this being clearly the correct decision and one they should have been proud of, the opprobrium of the right-wing press, led by Secretary of State Priti Patel, has caused them to take a more violent approach. Given the cheering on that they're receiving this tougher, more violent strategy is clearly winning them friends in all the right places.
it's okay to say "I don't know"

User avatar
warumich
Clardic Fug
Posts: 196
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:49 pm

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by warumich » Thu Mar 25, 2021 11:13 am

Fishnut wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 8:41 pm
warumich wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 3:53 pm

[really interesting stuff]
You're right that a lot of people probably do join the police to do good in their communities, and they see the worst of people on a regular basis which no doubt affects your attitude and approach in the long-term. The job description is very broad, and one might say it is too broad. Are the police really the best people to be picking up body parts or telling someone that a family member has died? It feels like, to some extent, the police force has become the dumping ground for all the unpleasant jobs that no-one else wants to do.
Quite right I suppose, and I know that this is at least part of the intention behind the phenomenally badly chosen "defund the police" slogan. I suppose somebody will still have to do the unpleasant jobs though, and even if so there's things the police won't be able to avoid - having to go through CCTV footage of a train suicide is one of the most harrowing things my colleagues told me about. And I cannot see a way of doing the job without having to interact with victims and their families.

Fishnut wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 8:41 pm
I wouldn't be at all surprised if there's similar biases in UK laws. What we choose to criminalise and what we don't can have massive implications - just look at the traveller communities who will be, if the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill passes in its current form, incapable of continuing their way of life while remaining in the bounds of the law.
Yes, there are similar biases, and I'm glad you bring up traveller communities because everyone forgets about them. As I tried to reason, it's largely a societal issue and the police is a symptom of that. And I do feel that in many places we've gone far beyond institutional racism and into racism over the past few years. There was a traveller encampment in our local community park a few weeks ago and the comments in our village facebook group were quite a marvel to behold. GF made a point of taking our son to the newly designated criminal no-go area to say hi to our visitors, and they were all friendly and waved back and generally no effing problem. At least the police have to go through regular diversity training, dear old Daily Mail Edna from number 45 doesn't, and it shows.
I've never had a signature, and it never did me any harm

secret squirrel
Snowbonk
Posts: 495
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:42 pm

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by secret squirrel » Thu Mar 25, 2021 12:20 pm

I think part of the problem with the police as they currently exist is that much of the service to the community they provide is to make up for the failings of a status quo that they exist primarily to support. The British police are among the better forces world wide, but they're still, to paraphrase Martin Luther King, more devoted to order than to justice. Whatever their self-image, which may well for many be based on sincere convictions, ultimately they will line up to crack protestors' heads when the call comes, and they will close ranks to protect abusers etc. Of course there are noble exceptions, but they are exceptions.

On a personal note, when moving to South East Asia it was interesting to go from being in a demographic well served by the police (white, middle class, male), to being in one not so well served (foreigner). Going from generally being vaguely reassured when seeing police around to thinking "are they going to f.ck with me today?" has been eye opening. It's also interesting that I still obviously rely on the order kept by the police here to a great extent, but there is a tension between this and the fact that they are as a group in a very real sense not my friends. Obviously the British police are not as corrupt as the police over here, but there is a similar dynamic at work for a lot of people.

User avatar
Fishnut
Dorkwood
Posts: 1497
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:15 pm
Location: UK

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by Fishnut » Thu Mar 25, 2021 5:47 pm

Police retract claims that officers suffered broken bones at Bristol protest
Kevin Blowe, the coordinator of Netpol, which campaigns around the policing of protest, said exaggerated claims of injuries by police were not without precedent. “It’s par for the course,” Blowe said...Regarding the claims of injuries at Bristol, Blowe said: “It does raise concerns that Avon and Somerset may have been trying to sell the case not only for their operation on the night, but for what happens next. Bristol is geared up for raids on homes.”
it's okay to say "I don't know"

User avatar
jimbob
Stummy Beige
Posts: 2823
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:04 pm
Location: High Peak/Manchester

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by jimbob » Sun Mar 28, 2021 2:01 pm

David Allen Green on a related tweet by the head of Gloucester police federation.
Policing by consent is a general principle not duty. Peaceful protest is a qualified not absolute right, has limits when it infringes on rights of others. the law includes the current prohibition on public gatherings. And technically we’re crown servants not public servants

— GlosPolFedChair (@FedGlos) March 27, 2021
Account now protected, but I saw the tweet earlier.

Which answers the question how this police officer would behave if he saw a conflict between being a servant of the Crown and being a public servant.


https://davidallengreen.com/2021/03/we- ... e-officer/
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

User avatar
jimbob
Stummy Beige
Posts: 2823
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:04 pm
Location: High Peak/Manchester

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by jimbob » Tue May 04, 2021 12:40 pm

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/202 ... dApp_Other

I can see why one cop was arrested for murder. Kicking an unconscious man in the head several times is reasonable grounds to charge almost any attacker if the victim dies.
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

User avatar
Fishnut
Dorkwood
Posts: 1497
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:15 pm
Location: UK

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by Fishnut » Tue May 04, 2021 1:32 pm

f.cking hell.
At least two kicks were delivered by him to Dalian Atkinson’s forehead with enough force to leave the imprints of the pattern of the laces from the top of his boot on two separate areas of Mr Atkinson’s forehead.
It's quite fascinating reading the press from the time of his death. The Birmingham Mail has a piece from the time with updates as they were made public. They refer to the taser but nothing about the police officer kicking him in the head repeatedly. The police statement at the time (posted at 11:23) stated,
West Mercia Police can confirm that officers responded to a report for the concern for the safety of an individual at approximately 1.30am this morning at an address in Telford.

Upon arrival Taser was deployed and a 48-year-old man, who subsequently received medical attention, was pronounced dead at approximately 3am.

West Mercia Police are unable to comment any further as the incident has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) as is normal procedure, and will assist the IPCC with their inquiries.
Such downplaying of what happened. The BBC is interesting in giving an actual eye-witness description of the assault by police,
Paula Quinn, who lives in a first-floor flat near the Atkinson property in Trench, said: "They were shouting and kicking so much all I could hear were the boots hitting him.

"And then the officer who released the Taser stepped back while the other officer still continued to kick and then I could hear him shout to the other officer that was still kicking, 'Back off, back off, back off.'

"And then the officer with the Taser asked the gentleman to put his hands behind his back and did so probably two or three times and reactivated the Taser another four or five times after that. "
The Birmingham Mail piece doesn't reference the (at the time, alleged) assault at all while the Guardian merely notes that,
Two West Mercia police officers are under criminal investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which is also investigating an eyewitness claim that Atkinson was struck by police and kicked while on the ground.
There's also a focus on his health, as if he'd have been fine being tasered three times and kicked in the head if it weren't for his health. E.g. from 18:07:
Former Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson, who has died after being Tasered by police, had been battling kidney problems and had a weak heart....
[His nephew] Fabian, who last saw the ex-footballer three weeks ago, told reporters: “He had some health issues that he was trying to get through and that’s why his heart was weak.”
The press (at least in those articles I've read) really were just acting as stenographers for the most part, with the interesting and notable exception of the BBC. The police statements from the police are taken as an accurate and unbiased retelling of the circumstances surrounding the incident despite clear evidence that they are attempting to shape the narrative and cast themselves in the best possible light. I get the fact they're constrained, especially when things are reported to the IPCC but, as with George Floyd, the police statements make it sound like the need for the ambulance was entirely coincidental to the police being there when in fact were it not for their actions both men would surely still be alive.
it's okay to say "I don't know"

User avatar
Fishnut
Dorkwood
Posts: 1497
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:15 pm
Location: UK

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by Fishnut » Tue May 04, 2021 8:05 pm

I meant to share these the other day but forgot.

Four Merseyside police officers convicted after assault and cover-up
Four police officers have been convicted after one of them beat up a member of the public and the others helped him to cover it up.

The Merseyside police officers all attended a domestic incident in Southport in June 2019, which ended with a member of the public being assaulted.

PC Darren McIntyre punched Mark Bamber four times in the face and once in the ribs before arresting him at his home in Ainsdale.

Midway through the assault, McIntyre’s colleagues turned off their body-worn cameras and later lied about what had happened, the Liverpool Echo reported.
Met police officer dismissed for hitting vulnerable girl ‘more than 30 times’ with baton
During the hearing, the panel heard that in May 2019, a 17-year-old girl, who has learning disabilities, had run away from a group on an escorted walk in Newham after becoming distressed.

The girl was close to a main road and concerned members of the public called the police. The girl also flagged down a passing police car.

After the teenager told officers that she was a vulnerable child with mental health problems, she agreed to get in the police car, but later got out.

The IOPC said PC Kemp attempted to handcuff the teenager, but when this was unsuccessful, he used CS spray less than a metre from her face. “Within seconds he started using his baton and then struck her several times,” it said.

When another police unit arrived, the girl was immediately Tasered by an officer from that vehicle, and she was struck several times more with the baton by PC Kemp, handcuffed and put into a police van.
I really don't have words, particularly for the second story. She was a scared girl who asked to help her, but instead they handcuffed her, beat her up and tasered her. How she recovers from that trauma I really don't know.
An investigation followed after a complaint was made by NHS workers and the mother of the teenager, who is from east London.

The watchdog noted that the girl was black, but there was no indication that racial discrimination played a factor in the case.
Two things stick out to me here - the first is that there appears to be no automatic investigation if tasers or CS spray are used, which surprised me. I don't think a full independent inquiry should be performed but if you use your weapons then I'd have thought that some sort of follow-up should be mandatory to ensure that they were used proportionately. That it took external complaints for anything to be done doesn't speak that well of their ability to police their own. There were two police units involved after all, surely one of those people must have thought that their colleagues were out of line.

The second is that they don't think race had a role to play. I find that quite hard to believe. I don't know that a white vulnerable teenage girl would receive that level of aggression. In fact I find it quite hard to believe they would. Maybe I'm being too optimistic and the police would beat up a while girl who'd asked for help, but given the level of systemic racism in the police force I would want more than vague assurances that the abuse wasn't exacerbated by race.
it's okay to say "I don't know"

bagpuss
Catbabel
Posts: 945
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:10 pm

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by bagpuss » Wed May 05, 2021 11:00 am

Fishnut wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 8:05 pm

...

I really don't have words, particularly for the second story. She was a scared girl who asked to help her, but instead they handcuffed her, beat her up and tasered her. How she recovers from that trauma I really don't know.
An investigation followed after a complaint was made by NHS workers and the mother of the teenager, who is from east London.

The watchdog noted that the girl was black, but there was no indication that racial discrimination played a factor in the case.
Two things stick out to me here - the first is that there appears to be no automatic investigation if tasers or CS spray are used, which surprised me. I don't think a full independent inquiry should be performed but if you use your weapons then I'd have thought that some sort of follow-up should be mandatory to ensure that they were used proportionately. That it took external complaints for anything to be done doesn't speak that well of their ability to police their own. There were two police units involved after all, surely one of those people must have thought that their colleagues were out of line.

The second is that they don't think race had a role to play. I find that quite hard to believe. I don't know that a white vulnerable teenage girl would receive that level of aggression. In fact I find it quite hard to believe they would. Maybe I'm being too optimistic and the police would beat up a while girl who'd asked for help, but given the level of systemic racism in the police force I would want more than vague assurances that the abuse wasn't exacerbated by race.
I'm really struggling to understand what went on in the minds of the officers in the second incident. They knew that she was vulnerable long before they did anything. At least, it's not clear from that report whether the officer who fired the taser was aware as it seems to have been fired just after they arrived on the scene and we don't know what they knew before arriving. They may have made a snap judgement based on what they saw on arrival which may have looked like something other than what it was, although it seems likely that some level of racism may well have been underlying that judgement. But the first officer who used CS spray and his baton definitely knew and even if she was lashing out because she was distressed (and I'm pretty sure most people who aren't well used to it would be struggling to stay calm if someone was trying to handcuff them), I'm struggling to see how he could have thought his behaviour was proportionate.

I was under the impression that UK police officers are trained how to deal with situations with minimal use of force - that seems to have passed this particular officer by.



And like you, fishnut, I'm surprised that there's no automatic investigation when weapons are used. There is, I understand, when a gun is fired so surely the same should be true for tasers certainly and CS spray as well, I would have expected. Maybe not automatic suspension till the investigation is complete as I think is the case when a gun is fired, although I would argue that for tasers it perhaps should be, but definitely some level of investigation.

And likewise, I think the dismissal of race as a factor is optimistic to say the least.

User avatar
Grumble
After Pie
Posts: 2383
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:03 pm

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by Grumble » Wed May 05, 2021 11:08 am

I don’t know what’s in CS spray, but possession of pepper spray (by civilians) is a firearms offence.
You’ve got no chutzpah, your organisational skills are lacklustre and your timekeeping is abysmal.

User avatar
dyqik
Light of Blast
Posts: 4194
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:19 pm
Location: Masshole
Contact:

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by dyqik » Wed May 05, 2021 11:11 am

Grumble wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 11:08 am
I don’t know what’s in CS spray, but possession of pepper spray (by civilians) is a firearms offence.
CS spray and pepper spray aren't exactly the same thing, (CS is 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile, pepper spray is oleoresin capsicum), but the terms do get used fairly interchangeably. "Tear Gas" can be either of them.

User avatar
Bird on a Fire
Princess POW
Posts: 6861
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:05 pm
Location: Portugal

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed May 05, 2021 11:44 am

One lesson to be learned from this is just not to call the police if you can possibly avoid it. You try and help a neighbour acting erratically, or a couple having a domestic dispute, or even to get help for yourself, and there's apparently a decent chance they'll beat someone to death and cover it up. No thanks.
He has the grace of a swan, the wisdom of an owl, and the eye of an eagle—ladies and gentlemen, this man is for the birds!

User avatar
Woodchopper
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3989
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:05 am

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by Woodchopper » Wed May 05, 2021 1:05 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 8:05 pm
Two things stick out to me here - the first is that there appears to be no automatic investigation if tasers or CS spray are used, which surprised me. I don't think a full independent inquiry should be performed but if you use your weapons then I'd have thought that some sort of follow-up should be mandatory to ensure that they were used proportionately. That it took external complaints for anything to be done doesn't speak that well of their ability to police their own. There were two police units involved after all, surely one of those people must have thought that their colleagues were out of line.
Use of a Taser, irritant spray, the baton or handcuffs would need to be reported. But that would amount to the police officer filling in a form. I'd be surprised if there were to be an investigation after every incident. You can read some stats here.

User avatar
Woodchopper
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3989
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:05 am

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by Woodchopper » Wed May 05, 2021 1:27 pm

bagpuss wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 11:00 am
I'm really struggling to understand what went on in the minds of the officers in the second incident. They knew that she was vulnerable long before they did anything. At least, it's not clear from that report whether the officer who fired the taser was aware as it seems to have been fired just after they arrived on the scene and we don't know what they knew before arriving.
The reason is that mental health problems are perceived as a threat rather than a source of vulnerability. According to this in a year there were 56 000 instances of police use of force against people with 'mental' disabilities (and another 1800 against people with 'mental' and 'physical' disabilities).
bagpuss wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 11:00 am
And like you, fishnut, I'm surprised that there's no automatic investigation when weapons are used. There is, I understand, when a gun is fired so surely the same should be true for tasers certainly and CS spray as well, I would have expected. Maybe not automatic suspension till the investigation is complete as I think is the case when a gun is fired, although I would argue that for tasers it perhaps should be, but definitely some level of investigation.
The number of incidents are enormously greater with Tasers or irritant spray. From here, in the year firearms were fired 13 times. That's a level at which every incident can be investigated.

But according to this Tasers were used in 24 000 incidents and discharged in 2 700 (use includes aiming), and other weapons (eg batons, irritant spray) used in 30 000 incidents. Use is routine and therefore isn't going to be investigated.

User avatar
Fishnut
Dorkwood
Posts: 1497
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:15 pm
Location: UK

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by Fishnut » Wed May 05, 2021 1:52 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 11:44 am
One lesson to be learned from this is just not to call the police if you can possibly avoid it. You try and help a neighbour acting erratically, or a couple having a domestic dispute, or even to get help for yourself, and there's apparently a decent chance they'll beat someone to death and cover it up. No thanks.
That's definitely the conclusion I've reached, especially after watching my own local police force in action with the #KillTheBill protests. They exaggerated the level of injuries officers received while downplaying and defending the disproportionate use of force against protestors. I have very little trust in the police any more. They were good when my sister was stalked, I'll give them that, but now when I see a police officer I'm suspicious of them and their motives.
it's okay to say "I don't know"

User avatar
Woodchopper
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3989
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:05 am

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by Woodchopper » Wed May 05, 2021 2:15 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 11:44 am
One lesson to be learned from this is just not to call the police if you can possibly avoid it. You try and help a neighbour acting erratically, or a couple having a domestic dispute, or even to get help for yourself, and there's apparently a decent chance they'll beat someone to death and cover it up. No thanks.
In general I agree. Calling the police should be a last resort and people should try to resolve problems without doing that. Though if someone us using or threatening violence by far the best option is usually to get out of the immediate vicinity and call the police (with the obvious exception of preventing death or serious injury).

That said, the chances that UK officers would beat someone to death are close to zero. All the deaths in custody were investigated and you can read about them here. Its difficult to see any pattern of people being beaten to death.

bagpuss
Catbabel
Posts: 945
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:10 pm

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by bagpuss » Wed May 05, 2021 2:39 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 1:52 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 11:44 am
One lesson to be learned from this is just not to call the police if you can possibly avoid it. You try and help a neighbour acting erratically, or a couple having a domestic dispute, or even to get help for yourself, and there's apparently a decent chance they'll beat someone to death and cover it up. No thanks.
That's definitely the conclusion I've reached, especially after watching my own local police force in action with the #KillTheBill protests. They exaggerated the level of injuries officers received while downplaying and defending the disproportionate use of force against protestors. I have very little trust in the police any more. They were good when my sister was stalked, I'll give them that, but now when I see a police officer I'm suspicious of them and their motives.
I've had a huge distrust of police when it comes to demonstrations since I was involved in the "Battle of Westminster Bridge" way way back in 1988 when we were protesting against the introduction of student loans (funny how absolutely everything we said would happen then went on to happen, despite all the politicians patting us on the head and saying it wouldn't :roll: ).

We were charged with police horses, there was no effective warning (I think a police officer did say something with a megaphone but I was only about 20m away and couldn't hear a word he was saying, so I don't know if that was it or not, and a friend who was even closer said later that she couldn't hear it either), some people were seriously injured and it's frankly a miracle there weren't more and worse injuries. The reporting afterwards, based on the police press releases, focussed on the fact that students had been throwing coins, bottles and wooden sticks from banners at the police - there were one or two yes, but it wasn't a riot, most people were totally calm, just chanting, and the police were wearing riot gear and consequently their injuries were very very few. Whereas the injuries caused by the police horse charge were apparently all our fault because we hadn't left when they "warned" us. In fact, from the linked report, it looks like their initial statement was that there was no police horseback charge at all. Yes, we weren't supposed to be there but there was no significant violence until the police charged us with horses. And even then pretty well everyone just wanted to get the hell out of there and get to safety.


ETA: Looking at photos from that day, it seems most of the police weren't actually wearing riot gear so clearly my memory is faulty. They did at least have helmets on though.

bagpuss
Catbabel
Posts: 945
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:10 pm

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by bagpuss » Wed May 05, 2021 2:54 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 1:27 pm
bagpuss wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 11:00 am
I'm really struggling to understand what went on in the minds of the officers in the second incident. They knew that she was vulnerable long before they did anything. At least, it's not clear from that report whether the officer who fired the taser was aware as it seems to have been fired just after they arrived on the scene and we don't know what they knew before arriving.
The reason is that mental health problems are perceived as a threat rather than a source of vulnerability. According to this in a year there were 56 000 instances of police use of force against people with 'mental' disabilities (and another 1800 against people with 'mental' and 'physical' disabilities).
bagpuss wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 11:00 am
And like you, fishnut, I'm surprised that there's no automatic investigation when weapons are used. There is, I understand, when a gun is fired so surely the same should be true for tasers certainly and CS spray as well, I would have expected. Maybe not automatic suspension till the investigation is complete as I think is the case when a gun is fired, although I would argue that for tasers it perhaps should be, but definitely some level of investigation.
The number of incidents are enormously greater with Tasers or irritant spray. From here, in the year firearms were fired 13 times. That's a level at which every incident can be investigated.

But according to this Tasers were used in 24 000 incidents and discharged in 2 700 (use includes aiming), and other weapons (eg batons, irritant spray) used in 30 000 incidents. Use is routine and therefore isn't going to be investigated.
Fair points, I hadn't realised (and didn't actually think to check) that tasers were discharged quite that often. Perhaps a random sample should be routinely investigated but maybe they are.

User avatar
JQH
Dorkwood
Posts: 1562
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:30 pm
Location: Sar Flandan

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by JQH » Wed May 05, 2021 8:47 pm

bagpuss wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 2:39 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 1:52 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 11:44 am
One lesson to be learned from this is just not to call the police if you can possibly avoid it. You try and help a neighbour acting erratically, or a couple having a domestic dispute, or even to get help for yourself, and there's apparently a decent chance they'll beat someone to death and cover it up. No thanks.
That's definitely the conclusion I've reached, especially after watching my own local police force in action with the #KillTheBill protests. They exaggerated the level of injuries officers received while downplaying and defending the disproportionate use of force against protestors. I have very little trust in the police any more. They were good when my sister was stalked, I'll give them that, but now when I see a police officer I'm suspicious of them and their motives.
I've had a huge distrust of police when it comes to demonstrations since I was involved in the "Battle of Westminster Bridge" way way back in 1988 when we were protesting against the introduction of student loans (funny how absolutely everything we said would happen then went on to happen, despite all the politicians patting us on the head and saying it wouldn't :roll: ).

We were charged with police horses, there was no effective warning (I think a police officer did say something with a megaphone but I was only about 20m away and couldn't hear a word he was saying, so I don't know if that was it or not, and a friend who was even closer said later that she couldn't hear it either), some people were seriously injured and it's frankly a miracle there weren't more and worse injuries. The reporting afterwards, based on the police press releases, focussed on the fact that students had been throwing coins, bottles and wooden sticks from banners at the police - there were one or two yes, but it wasn't a riot, most people were totally calm, just chanting, and the police were wearing riot gear and consequently their injuries were very very few. Whereas the injuries caused by the police horse charge were apparently all our fault because we hadn't left when they "warned" us. In fact, from the linked report, it looks like their initial statement was that there was no police horseback charge at all. Yes, we weren't supposed to be there but there was no significant violence until the police charged us with horses. And even then pretty well everyone just wanted to get the hell out of there and get to safety.


ETA: Looking at photos from that day, it seems most of the police weren't actually wearing riot gear so clearly my memory is faulty. They did at least have helmets on though.
Sounds remarkably similar to my memories of the Poll Tax demo in Trafalgar Square and the anti-fascist demo in Welling. See also Battle of the Bean Field and Battle of Orgreave.
And remember that if you botch the exit, the carnival of reaction may be coming to a town near you.

Fintan O'Toole

User avatar
mediocrity511
Snowbonk
Posts: 391
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:16 pm

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by mediocrity511 » Wed May 05, 2021 9:11 pm

I had a similar experience bagpuss, though mine was a bit later when the G8 was at Gleneagles. I was 17 and had gone with my 15 year old sister. We told my mum how bad it was and she didn't really believe us. Until we went on a massive march in London with her and had to shelter in a doorway when the police charged.

User avatar
Fishnut
Dorkwood
Posts: 1497
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:15 pm
Location: UK

Re: Police Brutality and Media Cover-Ups

Post by Fishnut » Tue May 18, 2021 8:41 pm

This talk may be of interest to people: “They don’t protect us: a history of the police and community monitoring groups”.
Join us to hear stories from the work of community monitoring groups who have been on the frontlines challenging police abuses of power and racism for decades, learn more about the police use of force in the UK, taser usage, and the controversial new Violence Suppression Units, and learn more about the history and origins of the police in the UK and USA...

At this event, you will learn about:
- The history and origins of the modern police force in the UK and USA
- Community resistance to police abuses of power and the work of community monitoring groups
- Modern policing tactics such as taser use, stop + search powers, and serious violence suppression orders (SVSOs) and how these impact Black and Brown communities in the UK
it's okay to say "I don't know"

Post Reply