On the day that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill becomes law, another Kill The Bill defendant, Charli-Mae Pitman, has been found guilty of riot.
Charli-Mae is one of at least 82 people who were arrested following protests in early 2021 against the draconian Police Bill. 15 others have already received prison sentences for taking part in the protest.
Audacity of the state
The state has been relentless in trying to track down people who were involved in the first of the protests, which saw police vehicles set on fire after police officers used extreme violence on protesters, including cracking the edges of their shields down onto people’s heads, striking them with batons, the use of pepper spray, and setting their dogs on people.
During the trial, prosecutor Sarah Regan showed the state’s audacity when she said:
The re-writing of history is very relevant to what you have to determine. This is what we say Charli-Mae Pitman is attempting to do.
On 21 march she was a rioter. She showed her hatred towards the police and showed her hatred against them.
However, this was a classic case of the state gaslighting the jury. It is, in fact, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) – with its police witnesses who said they feared for their lives – who are re-writing history. It is the CPS that has shown the jury carefully edited footage of the events of the 21 March, sewing it together to make a very inaccurate timeline of what actually happened that day: they condensed an eight hour day to around 15 minutes of footage.
Regan herself was telling untruths as she made her closing speech, in a successful attempt to find Charli-Mae, who suffers from anxiety, guilty. Charli-Mae was seen in footage to throw something, which she had said was a piece of paper or cardboard, towards the police. Regan said matter-of-factly to the jury that it was, in fact, glass, with zero evidence that this was the case.
Where’s your broken bones?
The CPS’s re-writing of history in court follows on from the Avon and Somerset police doing the same thing. Following the first Kill The Bill protest, the force said that its officers had suffered broken bones, and one officer had suffered a punctured lung. It quietly retracted this statement, but only after this fabrication had made news headlines, broadcasting to the nation the story of a mob attacking a defenceless, innocent police.
However, there’s plenty of evidence of the horrific police violence that took place during Bristol’s Kill The Bill protests in late March, and there were calls from Labour politicians for an investigation into the heavy-handed policing. Just how many protesters were injured isn’t known, but 62 injuries were reported, including seven injuries that needed hospital treatment and 22 head injuries. Meanwhile, Avon and Somerset’s police chief stepped down shortly after criticisms of the policing of the Kill The Bill protests.
Who’s the real violent mob?
Charli-Mae was shown on footage to kick out at a police officer, flick a police shield, and hit a policeman on his helmet. This is nothing in comparison to a police force that brutalised protesters and admitted in court that they used “multiple shield and baton strikes“. Yet she is the one who faces a prison sentence, while the officers involved in the events of the 21 March continue to keep their jobs with zero consequences.
We have to ask who is really the “violent mob” terrorising our neighbourhoods? Could it be those who are paid to ‘protect’ us while they repeatedly beat us over the head dressed as RoboCop?
According to Inquest, police in England and Wales have been responsible for:
1815 deaths in police custody or otherwise following contact with the police in England & Wales since 1990.
Then, there’s at least 194 women who have been murdered by the police and prison system in England and Wales. Back in May 2021, Channel 4 News reported that at least 129 women had come forward in the last two years to report that their police officer partner was abusing either them or their children.
On top of this, the police’s “racism, misogyny” and “harassment” throughout the country is well-documented. The vile text messages they send to each other about rape, and the selfies they took of themselves with the bodies of Black women Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry: these have been made public.
Yet instead of taking police powers away, we’re living in a society that has just given them much, much more. With the passing of the Police Bill, they’re going to get away with so much more. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
Featured image via Shoal Collective
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