Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Police Brutality

I work for the local city council in a minimum wage job. A few months ago, as I was on my way home from work I was beaten up and pinned to the ground by two men.

I'm an old man with grey hair. I get up early in the morning and cycle to work. I then do a physically exhausting job for eight and a half hours and then make my weary way home.

I was walking along, very, very tired, dressed in yellow waterproof city council issue high visibility clothing and wheeling my bicycle along by my side. Suddenly the first of the two men hit me from behind and began pushing me. Then the second man came up from in front of me and gripped me tightly, pinning my arms. The two men sandwiched me between them, the one behind pushing me violently forward while the one in front pushed me violently backward. Then they both pushed me down to the ground on top of my fallen bicycle. They didn't speak.

I shouted at the top of my voice to witnesses all along the street. I shouted over and over again for someone to dial 999 and call the police. The two men held me down to the ground, one of them sitting on me. One of the two men frantically shouted at the other one 'Shut him up! Shut him up! Can't you shut him up?' When it became clear that they couldn't shut me up and that witnesses were beginning to gather one of the two men owned up with the words 'We are the police.'

By this time a police vehicle was approaching. I asked the plainclothes man to provide some means of identification. He brought something out of his pocket, possibly a wallet or a card of some kind, waved it in front of my face and then put it back in his pocket. I asked to be allowed to actually read what was on it, to see if it was an ID or not. The officer refused with the words 'Nope, that's all you're getting'.

I was then handcuffed. I was cautioned that I did not have to say anything. At no time was I informed that I was being arrested. I was then searched. My backpack was searched 3 times, by 3 different officers, while still attached to my back and while I was handcuffed, so that I was not able to observe the conduct of the searches. I was asked if could describe the contents of the backpack, to which I replied that, since the 3 searches had all taken place behind my back and outside of my field of vision I had no way of knowing what was now in the bag. The 3 officers who had searched the bag had had every opportunity to take out of or put into the bag any item they wished and I would not have been able to see.

I was then told by a uniformed officer repeatedly to 'relax'. I reminded the officer who said this that it was an extremely stupid word to use when speaking to a member of the public who was in the process of being assaulted by police officers. Obviously to 'relax' in such a situation would be both impossible and undesirable. I was made to stand there handcuffed for a long time and then eventually released without charge. The plainclothes officers who committed the assault made no apology. One of them eventually identified himself while the other one declined.

Towards the end of the ordeal I overheard one of the police officers say to his colleague that the chap they actually wanted wasn't me at all but a man in a white anorak who had just been spotted again, further along the street.

I didn't have video making making equipment with me while these events were taking place but here, instead, is a video from the Guardian newspaper to illustrate the level of disrespect toward the public currently being practised by the British police:


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