“Fuck Tha Police” by N.W.A came out when I was only five years old, and of course I didn’t understand it as a child. Growing up I wondered why these black men so angry with the law. At that time the only way I could make sense of it was to assume they were criminals, why else would they have problems with the law? But as I grew older I realised it was not that simple and that there was a deeper root to their anger. Sadly, through experiences of my friends and family, society has made me understand this track to a whole new level. It didn’t just apply to the black community, it applied to all ethnic minorities such as myself. I used to give the law the benefit of the doubt, it’s easy to get confused sometimes right? But sometimes happens far too often. In the last two years my view on the law have completed changed.
I think it was two years ago that I finally snapped out of the dream that the police are here to protect us. They are here to protect the State not civilians. From what I have seen in Palestine (which is a police state in the making) as well as my own experiences and those of my family. Discriminatory acts are all too common to not know someone who has been affected, but when it impacts you directly, that’s when it hits you the most. You are the one presumed guilty until proven innocent and it’s your life that is worth less than that of others. You will never be an equal. You have worked hard your whole life and been a model citizen but nothing you will ever do or say will change the preconception that the law has of you because of the colour of your skin.
Most recently I had the glass in my front door smashed in the middle of the night. Probably random kids but scary none the less to be left with a gaping hole into my home, a violation of my personal space. Personally, I would not have even bothered to call the police, but my father did. I wish he hadn’t because I will never forget that feeling of disappointment when I saw his face drop when the police told him they weren’t coming over. He was hurt. He had worked hard his whole life even now past the age of retirement, paying his taxes but no one was coming to reassurance him that he would be kept safe in his own home. This was a low level crime, but was it possibly downgraded even more for other reasons? We will never know.
Only a few days later I was followed by armed police officers down oxford street on the hottest day of the year in London, you can imagine the streets were packed. Whilst shopping I was intercepted mid-purchase without any professionalism or respect and told I had been reported by someone for fighting and pickpocketing. In a store full of people, I was wrongly profiled, assumed guilty and made to feel dirty. Congratulations to the police officers for making me feel like I was worth less than everyone else that day because of the colour of my skin. And for embedding that misconception in everyone around me as they looked at me like I didn’t belong in a ‘civil society’. Adding insult to injury, the officer was then surprised that I had a British accent and as someone who has been born and bred in London I find that offensive. The implication that I do not look like I could be a British citizen because I am not white. Anyone who knows me knows I would be the first one to help the victim of pickpocketing as injustice is the one thing I cannot stand. Thus, being profiled as one myself was a huge slap in the face. The officer would not give me a description of who he was looking for but insisted it was me, the little information he did give me, I did not match. The colour of my rucksack was wrong and I pointed out three other people in the vicinity with rucksacks which matched the description more than mine. He had no reason to stop and humiliate me with a false narrative. My leniency and compassionate nature had worn tired that day. I could not forgive this incident as it was coupled with unprofessionalism and frankly a very poor use of the English language on his side, ironically as he assumed as I was not the British one. Even more ironically on my way home I told a fellow commuter on the tube platform his bag was open as I feared he would be pickpocketed. Angry and upset, I still refused to let the abusive nature of the police lower my own personal moral standards or my self-worth. That is the real battle.
I could not help but think back to the previous year where I had been physically assaulted by a white girl, who even flashed a gun at me. I had a video of her striking me and there were several witnesses and even CCTV footage. I took to social media, I found her name and the collage she went too but the police didn’t have enough information to follow it up. When they finally found her, why did they let her go. Why? They needed to find her ‘black friend’. Her Black friend who had tried to diffuse the situation. I asked the police why she was relevant as she was not the suspect, their response was, “we need to build a case”. The murder unit of the police force were unable to question a fourteen year old girl due to their lack of skills. I was then told if it went to court I would have to defend myself as now I was the one being accused of assault. Later due to the lack of care of the police the case was later dropped due to lack of evidence.
I’ve had several similar incidents with the police personally. In every single case they have been unnecessarily aggressive and accusatory towards me dispute my full coöperation. They accuse without evidence or probably cause for no other reason than the colour of my skin. I’ve been made to feel like a second class citizen time and time again. Whenever I’ve been the victim of crime, I’ve still always somehow been the guilty party. My wellbeing has always been downgraded and brushed off. There is nothing I can do to change the world’s perception of me, but I need to keep questioning why society expects individuals to keep supporting a system that does not support them. That does not protect all people equally and makes assumptions about us until proven otherwise. We cannot allow such discrimination to become normalized. We must stand our ground.
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