Campaigners share tributes in memory of teenager killed in suspected racist attack

Flowers at the scene of Dea-John Reid's murder
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West Midlands Police have charged a man with the murder of 14-year-old Dea-John Reid. On 31 May, a group chased and fatally stabbed Reid in the chest in Kingstanding, Birmingham. Having not initially identified that the attack was racially motivated, police are now investigating reports that the group racially abused Reid prior to the attack. Anti-racist campaigners took to Twitter to share tributes to the boy. The murder investigation is ongoing, and police are calling for information.

The murder of Dea-John Reid

On 2 June, West Midlands Police named the boy who a group fatally stabbed in Birmingham as 14-year-old Dea-John Reid. According to police, a group chased and stabbed Reid in the chest on 31 May. He died at the scene.

On 1 June, West Midlands Police detective chief inspector Stuart Mobberley said that there was “nothing to suggest that this is a racially motivated attack” at that time. However, police are now investigating reports of a prior incident in which the group racially abused Reid and his companions. A spokesperson from West Midlands Police told The Canary:

As the investigation has progressed we now believe there was an incident involving Dea-John and his friends shortly before the murder. That quickly escalated, resulting in Dea-John’s tragic death.

They added:

During this precursor incident racist language was directed at Dea-John and his friends; that’s now being investigated.

The force has voluntarily referred the case to the Independent Office for Police Conduct. According to the Guardian, detectives are not currently classifying the case as a hate crime.

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Reflecting on the police’s initial response, lawyer Jacqueline Mckenzie said:

Reflecting on Kingstanding’s racist history, Liz Pemberton shared:

A community in mourning

Reflecting on the “communal grief” that the local community is experiencing in response to the brutal attack, and welcoming the police’s investigation into its racial element, community activist bishop Desmond Jaddoo told The Canary:

A young man has lost his life and no stone should be left unturned.

He concluded:

The only saving grace now is that the police have acted quickly and decisively. They made arrests and people have been charged. I think as a community that has been welcomed.

On 1 June, police arrested six people on suspicion of murdering Reid. Police have charged 35-year-old Michael Shields with murder. He appeared at Birmingham Magistrates Court on 3 June. A 38-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy remain in custody for questioning. Police have released “two men, aged 36 and 33, and a 13-year-old boy” with no further action. The investigation is ongoing.

Anti-racist campaigners share tributes

Reid’s family shared a tribute to the 14-year-old, saying:

This loss not only affects us but everyone Dea-John knew, we have lost a son, his siblings have lost a brother and others have lost a friend. The passing of this incredibly talented young boy will be felt by us all. How many more mothers will have to mourn for their sons for this to stop?

Anti-racist campaigners took to Twitter to share their condolences. Black Lives Matter UK said:

All Black Lives UK shared:

Kids of Colour shared this moving tribute:

Race equality think tank Runnymede Trust CEO Dr Halima Begum said:

Ongoing investigation

Regarding Shields’ murder charge, chief inspector Mobberley said:

This is a significant step forward in our investigation, but we are still pursuing all lines of enquiry to find anyone else involved in Dea-John’s tragic death.

He added:

We are looking at all the circumstances which led up to the events of Monday evening and anyone who has information should contact us.

Noting that the attack took place “on a busy thoroughfare” in “broad daylight”, Jaddoo addressed the local community saying:

If you have any information at all, please get in touch with the police.

Police are asking anyone with information to get in touch here or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Featured image via Birmingham Live

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