People held a protest outside a Croydon police station over cops’ abuse of a Black woman after they suspected her of dodging a bus fare – even though she had paid. However, wider questions are now being asked of the Met Police’s actions – not least, bosses’ response to the racist and misogynistic actions of cops.
Protesting the police in Croydon
As the Canary previously reported, the Met Police are once again facing anger and criticism for officers’ racist treatment of a Black woman. Cops arrested, then “de-arrested”, the woman on Friday 21 July – because they thought she’d had dodged a bus fare. The Met also claim it was because she was being “abusive”. But as the Canary previously wrote:
Yes, that old chestnut: a Black person defends themselves, therefore they must be abusive.
This was racism and misogynoir in action from the cops – which left her and her young child visibly distressed. So, people took to a Croydon police station on Tuesday 25 July for a demo.
Community groups in Croydon, as well as branches of national groups, had organised the protest. Around 100 people came out for the demo:
Outside Croydon police station. Black people and ethnic minorities face racism, harassment, from the police. People from all backgrounds and colours came together in solidarity. #BlackLivesMatter #Croydon #StandUpToRacism #NoToRacism pic.twitter.com/TXQbs7uSfd
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— Khalid Malik (@khalidm722) July 25, 2023
Croydon’s toxic Labour Party, who’ve bankrupted the council and are now making poor people pay for it, were nowhere to be seen:
Remarkable that none of the Labour group who have helped improvise the Croydon community by abstaining on the council tax hike (highest nationally) can be bothered to stand with the community when opposing the racist police. pic.twitter.com/DcGWvnzLep
— Glen Hart (@GlenJHart) July 25, 2023
The local Green Party were there, though:
The video of a Black mother being arrested in front of her son isn’t an isolated incident
The trauma will stay with the child
So much pain being inflicted
We’re overpoliced by the Met who won’t admit they are institutionally racist
Protesting outside Croydon Police Station pic.twitter.com/rJfK67tekl
— Cllr Ria Patel (@Ria__Patel) July 25, 2023
Campaigner Afua Rose echoed what the Canary previously wrote over the impact on the mother’s child. She said of the cops:
How can you take a mother… who could have been my daughter… and manhandle her in front of a…child? Do they understand the corrosion and toxicity they’re putting into this little baby boy? So when he grows up hating the police… why is it that they don’t understand that this is a cycle that keeps continuing time and time again?
“Do they understand the corrosion and toxicity that they're putting into this little baby boy? So, when he grows up (…) distrusting the police (…), why is it that they don't understand that this a cycle (…),” campaigner Afua Rose said at today’s Croydon protest pic.twitter.com/HsagLZYt1q
— Nadine White. (@Nadine_Writes) July 25, 2023
Overall, the demo showed the strength of feeling both in Croydon and nationally about the Met’s actions. Moreover, since the Canary last reported on this there’s been more developments.
Half-baked investigations and half-baked platitudes
First, and the Met did its usual – referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). As BBC News reported:
The police watchdog says it received a “complaint referral” from the Met on Monday afternoon, with the complaint alleging the woman was “racially profiled and verbally abused by an officer”.
Not that this will instil confidence in Black communities, or racialised groups more broadly. As Novara Media previously wrote in 2022:
of over 23,000 complaints made about poor policing between 2020-2021, only 18 resulted in a police officer facing a misconduct meeting or hearing. Complaints against police have risen 11% in the last 12 months, new figures also reveal.
Then, you have boss cops giving the usual half-baked platitudes once they remembered smart phones with cameras exist so people now have proof of their officers’ actions. Chief superintendent Andy Brittain told BBC News:
our comms perhaps could have been slightly better and and then it’s kind of cascaded into quite a big community concern.
You don’t say, Andy. The Voice‘s editor Lester Holloway dissected the Met’s ‘comms’ on the incident:
First, you’ve just publicly branded a Black woman innocent of the offence she was being accused of as “aggressive.” That needs some reflection. Second, you’re suggesting only the police have the full context. Third, you’re downplaying what we can actually see. Problematic. https://t.co/Vtic3w2ayM
— Lester Holloway (@LesterJHolloway) July 23, 2023
Or rather, as one Twitter user put it:
The video doesn't just look concerning it IS concerning. But this is typical of The Met, always trying to gaslight and downplay your violence and racism. All this trauma that this family have faced because the Met hate Black women and Black children. Shame on you @metpoliceuk https://t.co/TMHL3D3Dev
— Marlon Kameka (@MarlonKameka) July 23, 2023
The Met put out a second statement on Twitter as well – which didn’t help them, either:
This new statement still offers no apology, places blame on the mother, highlights that she was harassed by inspectors and PCSO in the first instance which would’ve distressed the child initially and still gives no clear explanation for use of brute force by the officers. https://t.co/Dlrz1zGGE7
— Marianne Sunshine (@MissMaSunshine) July 24, 2023
Then, Brittain also told BBC News:
Trust has taken a hit as a result of the video, so it’s really important we understand what took place.
We assume he was neither joking, nor being ironic, when he said “trust has taken a hit” because of the video – like this is a new occurrence. Black communities have never been able to trust the Met – and now, the majority of London’s population don’t trust them, either.
People have also been pointing out that one of the officers called the woman a “daft cow” during the incident:
You say your officers are trained in deescalation of situations @metpoliceuk so why did one of your officers say to a woman he was attempting to handcuff “get your hands behind you, you daft cow…”
Is that community building behaviour?
— Kelechi (@kelechnekoff) July 24, 2023
This just compounds the stench of misogynoir seeping from the cops.
Nothing will change
Overall, though the cops’ treatment of the Black woman and her son has prompted the usual response from everyone affected when the Met’s racism rears its ugly head.
The Met has issued non-apologies. The IOPC will investigate but it’s unlikely any officer will face action. Politicians like Labour’s Sadiq Khan and Florence Eshalomi have asked for ‘urgent explanations‘ and expressed concern – but when the chips are down, will still support the police as an institution. Racists have trolled people over this on social media. And Black people are back to having to protest – all while feeling less and less safe on their own streets.
Here we go again, you’d be forgiven for thinking. If history, and the present, has taught us anything, it’s that colonialism is so entrenched in UK society that cops racism and misogynoir is systematically embedded in the structures of the police – because it’s meant to be. The police keep showing us who they are, over and over.
Only abolition will suffice. But in a white supremacist society, there’s a long road ahead.
Featured image via Nadine White – Twitter screengrabSupport us and go ad-free
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