Just a few days after Philando Castile’s murderer was acquitted of all charges, cheap news broke out that Edir Da Costa, search a man known as Edson had died after being detained by police. When I heard the news, my heart broke because yet again, a family would have to mourn the loss of their son, a young boy would have to grow up fatherless because he’d been failed by the state. But this time, it felt even weirder knowing that this happened in London, a city with a police force that definitely isn’t perfect, but when atrocities happen across the Atlantic, we can be grateful for.
So when the news of Edson’s passing came out, I and many other black Britons had to remind ourselves that police brutality is alive and kicking over here and that unfortunately, we aren’t an exception to it. Familiarise yourself with the summer of 2011 where Mark Duggan was hunted down and shot dead by the police for his alleged involvement in gang activity; still to this day, his family haven’t received the justice they deserved, despite accounts from eyewitnesses and a huge lack of evidence against Duggan, none of the officers have been tried and their actions were deemed “lawful”. Now in 2017, a 25 year old man has been murdered in the most brutal way possible by the same police force: they snapped his neck, pepper sprayed him as he was foaming the mouth and left him in a coma. This shouldn’t have happened.
Time and time again the lines between authority and outright abuse are blurred; there seems to be an unspoken consensus that a person can do the unthinkable to a black member of the public but because they wear a uniform, they have some kind of immunity. It’s become extremely clear that members of the Met Police aren’t trained to do their job efficiently without either harassing someone or killing them; a simple stop and search (something that happens way too often for black men anyway) shouldn’t lead to a man being forcefully attacked and murdered in the streets of London. The biggest problem here is that this was definitely no accident- Mark Duggan was killed because he was believed to have a weapon with him- but this kind of treatment couldn’t be a result of a simple mistake. Somebody needs to be held accountable.
As Britons, we’ve sat back for the last four years watching the atrocities taking place across the Atlantic: all kinds of black people- disabled, young, old – have been murdered on camera and not just one, but all of the police officers have been acquitted. Now nobody’s saying riot and light the city up but we have to come together and make noise about this tragedy; we can’t let this go, we can’t let another family be told that their brother’s life doesn’t matter- because it does.
Written by Sayo Olu