CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Community outrage on knife crime and policing is drowned out

04 October, 2019

Calvin Bungisa

• YOUR newspaper rightly asks “where is the outrage” by those in authority about “knife crime” (September 12).

There are calls for more stop-and-search and policing on the streets, without reference to their institutional racism.

This has drowned out community outrage at the lack of justice and the relentless police targeting of people of colour, especially youngsters.

Grieving families are being treated as suspects and the crimes they suffer as “gang-related” or tit-for-tat revenge, enabling the police to claim “a wall of silence” impedes investigations.

What’s happening to the family of Calvin Bungisa is a case in point. Following Calvin’s murder, a voicemail message claimed there was a danger of retaliation, hinting that this “intelligence” had come from the police.

This helped set the direction of the investigation. While a key witness was not interviewed for almost two months, family and friends have been repeatedly stopped, harassed and taunted by police.

One was stopped and searched by armed officers, and her car confiscated; others were given a form to sign saying they would be held responsible for any retaliation.

Legal Action for Women has submitted a complaint against one officer. But the targeting continues.

This week 20 officers raided the home of a local mother, a key supporter of Calvin’s family, breaking down her door at 5am.

She has been the target of a police crusade of harassment over decades. Her cousin, Keba Jobe, was killed in Camden during arrest, leading to a justice campaign she and many others were part of.

Some years later her home was raided by police looking for drugs. Her arm was broken but no drugs were found.

Still, she was charged with “racially aggravated assault” (she’s a Black woman). The case was thrown out and she won compensation.

Expecting police to solve “knife crime” hides the problem. What young people have been calling for is less stop-and-search, fewer school exclusions and more community resources, including playing fields and sports centres. And unprejudiced thorough investigations. All victims’ lives matter.

SARA CALLAWAY
Women of Colour
Global Women’s Strike

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