The met police "one size fits all" way of dealing with suspects, personally affected me last month when I was arrested in my home by Hackney Police.
It was the closest I’d ever come to watching a snuff movie. Viewing CCTV footage of a Hackney Police officer and a member of the public allowing a 20 year old Black man, to die on the floor of a shabby convenience store on Kingsland Road this past summer. I said it several times then and still maintain, police had no business intervening, following Rashans decision to hide what the police suspected was drugs in his mouth. We discovered what he swallowed was actually a mixture of paracetamol and caffeine, which would have been sold on as heroin. Recently the Met Police have decided to temporarily suspend the practice of forcing these packages out of the mouths of suspects.
A month prior to Rashan’s death in custody, another young Black man Edson Da Costa had his car stopped. Minutes later he was dead, after police in Newham held him down and sprayed him with CS gas, while attempting to remove drugs he had put in his mouth. The drugs were later determined to be crack cocaine and heroin. Others have also died while being restrained by police after they have hidden drug packages in their mouths. Yet despite the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) issuing a public warning about the danger of swallowing drugs in February after inquests in to other deaths, it was not relayed to front line officers, who deal with suspects willing to gamble their lives by swallowing drugs when coming in contact with the police to hide evidence. In both cases Rashan and Edson died because the packages were blocking their airways.
The new guidance came after the force’s medical director Meng Aw-Yong, met with police chiefs, according to Vice Magazine who spoke with him;“If an officer sees someone with drugs in their hand, absolutely stop them from putting drugs in their mouth – that’s the easiest thing; I’ve no problem with that. But once the package is in the mouth, doing nothing is a lower risk of harm or death than attempting to force them to [spit] it out.”
ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL
My anger is also directed at other tactics such as unnecessary high speed pursuits, which have no place on our streets especially for low level crimes and yes, that includes low level drug dealers and crimes such as vehicle theft. A year ago in Penge South London, a police pursuit of a stolen car led to the driver ploughing into and killing 10 year old Makayah McDermont and his aunt Rosie Cooper. Four years before Makayah and Rosies death, two men in a car driven by a known drug dealer were killed after the police chased them though Haringey.
The met police “one size fits all” way of dealing with suspects, personally affected me last month when I was arrested in my home by Hackney Police. Maybe a better description would be; “arrested by thugs”. My crime? A Hackney resident named Denise Rawls reported me to police last summer after I wrote this. Rawls also claims her photo appeared on an adult site and is convinced I was behind it. Denise Rawls claims to be a business coach yet chooses the same name of my Hackney Hive Blog that I established nearly 8 years ago?
So for a non violent “incident” that is basically a con artist who decided to name her newly formed business after THIS website (which I took umbrage to), I have owned since 2010, police treated me like a dangerous criminal. It took them an hour to break my door (It’s a helluva door) which meant asking for back up several times as none of their apparatus could break my door down. They eventually had to call the fire department to drill my front door which has caused structural damage and I still have to wait weeks more for a new door to be made.
All this manpower (there had to be at least 10 officers present), time and brutality over a twitter and email she say/she say message? That’s real crime fighting in Hackney for you. Not only do I suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) I have a degenerative disc in my lower lumber spine. I am not a danger to anyone. Since the incident, my anxiety level has risen, I’ve been averaging 3 hours sleep a night and my chronic pain has gotten worse, as any form of trauma will heighten my CFS. In fact for the first time in my life, I needed a wheel chair to get from our Uber to my seat at the O2 arena last weekend. That alone was quite humiliating, I never want to be in a wheel chair again!
As if having to deal with temporary health issues isn’t bad enough, I have to run my expanding business where I co-over see and manage a staff of over 45+ and hundreds of clients every week. If I did not have the luxury of working from home, there would be days I couldn’t get to work.
As for my accuser Denise Rawls, fortunately for her my reputation precedes me, so its easy for people like her to point fingers at me and make me out to be some type of monster that she needs protecting from. Rawls touts herself as a business coach and brags on her web site she has ran several successful businesses, when in fact the only business shes owned was an ethnic greeting card company she ran in her spare time. It failed after 2 years. Ironically, she contacted me 6 years ago to help her promote it on my twitter account – @hackneyhive. Five years later, she decided to use the same Hackney Hive name, for her business coaching business. If she was in another country, I could brush it off as a coincidence, but she lives in Hackney and is very familiar with my my site. In fact I wasn’t aware until she sent me a link to her new site.
Police forces throughout the UK need to rethink their “one size fits all” approach, in dealing with the public, including suspects. Is it really necessary to break down the door of a disabled person who failed to appear in court in February over a cockamamie bull-crap charge over a tweet and angry email? Was there a need for such brutality? The emails were sent over the course of 3 days in June 2016. In October 2016, I voluntarily attended an interview at Stoke Newington Police station and didn’t think anything would come of it. If armed police are expected to decide in a nano second, when to shoot someone, surely it’s not asking too much for them to make a quick assessment. I haven’t murdered anyone, kidnapped, robbed a bank nor am I a drug lord. My elderly mother arrived while I was still in my home and made it clear I wasn’t in good health. She asked to be let through so she could speak with me, yet they didn’t allow her. At that point, it had become a challenge, them against me. Their adrenaline had kicked in and they weren’t about to stop. I realise how quick things can escalate when you come in contact with the police. I watched Rashan Charles life end while a police officer pressed down on his neck. I figured I was safer indoors and refused to let them in. What was the point of spending two nights in a police cell waiting for court to resume on Monday? Surely there were others more deserving.
I remember the Broadwater Farm riots in 1985. A black woman, Cynthia Jarrett died of a heart attack as her home was raided. It led to days of rioting, buildings being burnt down and a police officer decapitated. Seems like the Met haven’t learned from that.
A link of this blog is being sent to:
Met Commissioner Cressida Dick
Hackney Borough Commander Simon Laurence