On Tuesday 21st November a 15 year old boy (who we will name JB in this case study to protect his identity) sustained serious injuries, and was left unconscious, when he was tackled off his bike by a police officer whilst leaving a takeway restaurant in Bermondsey, South East London.
JB was enjoying the early evening with friends, when he decided to stop and get a snack; his mother had always given him a strict curfew, which she knew he would adhere to as JB was known to be a good kid.
Police officers were in the local area, responding to reports of a mobile phone robbery that had taken place earlier in the day. They had a scant description of the suspect, and based on this profile upon spotting Terrell leaving the takeaway a male police officer decided to give chase - charging at JB. The police officer knocked JB from his bicycle, causing his head to make contact with the takeaway doorway at force.
JB sustained injuries that include a gaping lip wound, broken teeth, a broken jawbone, a fractuted skull and bleeding on the brain; despite these horiffic injuries, the police officers still decided it was necessary to handcuff JB, who later had a seizure in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
JB's mother was alerted of his disappearance when she grew worried about her son missing his curfew. It also soon became apparent that JB was not guilty of any crime, but a victim of the racial profiling notoriously used by the Metropolitan Police.
Despite making up just 13% of London’s population, black residents are more likely to be targets of excessive force used by the police. In just three months the Metropolitan Police Force used excessive force more than 12,600 times and data from the Metropolitan Police showed force of varying degrees was used 139 times on average, or once every 10 minutes.
Moreover, a separate review showed that People of Colour are disproportionately imprisoned, and are nine times more likely to be in youth custody than white people - 41% of under 18s in Youth Custody are from ethnic minority backgrounds.
JB's case was alerted to Creative Treaty's mediation services, we liaised with his mother to gain better understanding of the case and request her permission to raiae the incident as a Special Procedure to the United Nations Office for the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR).
Our mediation services collated data from witness testimony and gathered CCTV footage and photographs to compile a Special Procedure report, which was later submitted to the OHCHR.
The Special Procedure alert was later added to a report that was presented by the UN to the British Government. The report was deemed so serious the UN's Special Rapporteur of racism deemed it necessary to visit the United Kingdom to further investigate the the structural and institutionalised racism that exists in the country, including the concern over a "disproportionate number" of deaths of People of Colour in police custody. The UK was later issued with a warning based on these concerns.
This news isn't good, but it is a relief that it is finally being highlighted. We are still offering our support to JB's family.
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