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Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Issue 138, Friday 10th October 1997
"They treated him like an animal......these people are not human and need to be brought to justice."
- Kura Njie, cousin of Ibrahima Sey
Family members and campaigners have called for the withdrawal of CS Spray from all police forces following the killing of Ibrahima Sey in police custody last year. They are also demanding the prosecution of the police officers involved in his death after an inquest jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing last Thursday (2nd).
Mr. Sey, a 29 year-old Gambian asylum seeker and former international football player, died in the early hours of 16th March 96. He had been sprayed with CS gas and ‘restrained’ by several officers whilst handcuffed within the custody suite of Ilford police Station. Mr. Sey’s window Amie Sey believes her husband was murdered by the police and condemned the way in which they sought to cover up an incident which has left her two children fatherless. In a statement on behalf of the family Kura Njie, said "We have endured the worse eighteen months of our lives waiting for the truth to emerge and to hear the exact circumstances of Ibrahima’s death. It is an outrage and a crime that he was treated so brutally by those who claim to defend the public."
Mr. Sey’s death came just two weeks into the six-month long trial of the sprays by selected forces across the country. Despite his death Michael Howard declared the trails a complete success - which of course it was, if your aim is to help the police kill off as many ‘suspects’ as possible.
The official cause of death was ‘positional asphyxia’ but this does not reveal the true story. Mr Sey was arrested by seven officers from Forest Gate, taken to nearby Ilford police station with his friend Pa Ebou Ndimbalam, where he was handcuffed, placed in a "restraining" hold and then had so much gas solvent sprayed in his face that it was literally dripping from his mouth and led him to begin swallowing the solution. When he collapsed he was left laying face down on the custody room floor with the police standing around, one copper even swapping over the handcuffs so that he would not have to do any overtime once they realised something was wrong.
The verdict of unlawful killing follows an eighteen month justice campaign organised by the Newham Monitoring Project (NMP) an anti-racist community organisation that campaigns against racist attacks and police harassment,. Within days of the death the campaign had organised a public meeting, a three hundred strong picket of the police station and an angry march of over one thousand people between Forest Gate and Ilford Police Stations.
The family and supporters who had packed the gallery throughout the five week long inquest had been particularly angered by the testimony of the police. The WPC who had actually sprayed Mr. Sey sought sympathy from the jury by explaining how horrible it was to have members of the local community calling you a murder and that the stress of it all had given her "terrible acne." Family friend Pa Ebou Ndimbalam was left waiting in the police station for four hours thinking Mr. Sey was in the cells when he was actually lying dead in hospital. Even then they insisted on interviewing him (which they had no legal right to do) before telling him of Mr. Sey’s death. Evidence of the cause of death was clouded by the fact that the CCTV cameras in the station were "not working" at the time. The police doctors first claimed that he had died of "heart disease" but they subsequently changed it to "excited delirium" a term used in the Victorian era meaning that your mental equilibrium is disturbed and you get so worked up that you literally drop dead!
Chair of the NMP Barry Mussenden, told SchNEWS "It is ridiculous to see the way in which the increasing numbers of black people dying in police custody are being consistently ignored. When the police were issued with American style long handled batons in 1995 we predicted another Rodney King style case and within a month Brian Douglas died from a blow to the head. We made with same prediction with CS Spray and this time it only took two weeks. As far as we are concerned the police are the real criminals and they should be disarmed."
U.S. Crap Arrests of the WeekFor carrying signs and chanting slogans, singing songs and taking photographs. On the morning of July 7th, 29 American Earth First!ers were nicked in Wisconsin, while protesting against the proposed Wolf River Exxon/Rio Algom Corp. metallic sulphide mine. Protesters were charged with"Unlawful Assembly" and "Criminal Trespass."
Once in handcuffs, people were bussed hundreds of miles to six different jails in six counties. Some were placed in solitary confinement, others were denied access to telephones or water. None were allowed to speak to a lawyer. Bail hearings did not come for two days after the arrests and bail was set between $350 and $500.
Exxon and other mining corporations have successfully biased the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, influenced the State Legislature, dismantled environmental watchdogs, interfered in local politics, disrupted Indian communities and spent millions of dollars on a public relations blitz with TV, print and radio ads. All to make a quick buck extracting mineral wealth which has lain untouched for millennia - minerals such as like copper, gold, uranium, zinc, lead, mercury, arsenic, chromium and sulphides.
The resistance to metallic sulphide mining in Wisconsin has been extensive, especially because of its effect on locally produced foods, such as soybeans, cranberries, ginseng, maple sugars, potatoes and more is shipped out around the world, and Lake Superior is home to 20% of the world’s freshwater reserves.
100 DAYS OF OIL ACTIONOn Weds. 8th October several UK EF! activists erected banners outside the Oxford homes of Directors of BP and Texaco Ltd. They also handed out leaflets reading "Severe Weather Warning" documenting the causes and problems of global warming, and promoted sustainable energy resources as an alternative to oil. A recent central London oil conference was also disrupted in the run up to the Kyoto Climate Change conference. One activist dressed as an "oil bride" threw herself at John Battle MP, Minister of State for Energy, to symbolise the intimate relationship between this government and the oil industry.
Bunch of BankersThe Kebele not-for-profit squatted community centre in Bristol has been served its eviction orders. On September 23 ownership of the building passed from the Bristol One Parent Project to Lloyds Bank. John from Kebele told SchNEWS "Despite attempts to negotiate a future for the building as a housing co-op with them, Lloyds intend to auction the property, which is worth very little and will almost certainly stand empty until it is knocked down and replaced with something cheap, ugy and profitable. Several other houses on Robertson Road are already empty and bricked up after squatters were evicted earlier this year." He added "There is strong support within the inner city community of Easton for Kebele. We firmly believe that it is time to put people before profit, to continue demonstrating that an anarchic existence can be achieved in this ‘society’." If you want to help resist the eviction, contact (0117) 9399469.
SupertreesLast week the Labour Party delegates were surprised to see half a dozen mutant veggies, including a radish, marrow and a beef tomato with horns dishing out the dirt about genetics. Meanwhile as part of the Global Days of Action against genetic engineering people stripped off on the roof of Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) - the advertising agency trying to paint a rosy picture of nasty mutant soya bean makers Monsanto. They asked for the bare facts to be disclosed and called for an end to ‘the genetics cover up’. Please don’t ring BBH on 0171 734 1677 and make deformed gestures down the phone. Monsanto are also involved in a joint venture with ForBio who have developed supertrees that grow faster, straighter and larger than their conventional counterparts which can be handled by a three-armed robot which will be able to produce 750 embryonic trees an hour. Three of the robot assembly lines can generate millions of genetically modified seedlings a year. The elite seedlings will sell for up to ten times the price of conventional seedlings.
SchNEWS in Brief
Oh God, Not More!
and finallyTwo Texans were stopped by astonished customs officers when they noticed a strange wriggling in the men’s underpants. When asked to drop their trousers, customs officers found a wriggling mass of illegally imported rare snakes wrapped around their groins. They pleaded guilty to illegal importation of wildlife and handed over the snakes wrapped in a pair of tights. SchNEWS has not been able to confirm that the men were allowed to keep the common trouser snake...
disclaimerThe SchNEWS warns all readers never to... Always. Never. Honest.
Stop the Store Alliance! Flannel + Tit for Tat + Bob @ The Richmond Mon 13th Oct. 9-1 pm £3/2.50 to stop a proposed Sainsbury’s behind Brighton Station.
SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 2DX, England
Last updated 22 October 1997
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