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UK Black Leadership Wants End to Assault on Youth, Community

Starla Muhammad | 9/7/2011, 12:50 p.m.

(FinalCall.com) - Black youth are still being unfairly blamed and targeted in the aftermath of the civil unrest and rebellion that gripped the streets of London and other cities in early August, charge UK activists. Despite media footage that proves youth of all races participated in the violence that erupted, Black youth have been subject to increased racial profiling by police in light of Prime Minister David Cameron's vow to identify, prosecute and jail all those involved.

Heightened racial profiling of Black youth stemming from the unrest is the result and is the biggest issue that needs to be discussed, said Hilary Muhammad, UK representative for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.

"Not only are we experiencing racial profiling, we're also subject to dress profiling, age profiling and ethnicity profiling. So with this, if young brothers are walking around with hoodies on and with scarves around their necks, they are stopped by four to six police officers at a time," said Muhammad. It is systematic now, he added.

"Wearing a hoodie is really just a draw to get stopped so they have become very heavy handed in their tactics and the laws that they are enforcing to really prevent young people from assembling more than three or four at a time," said Muhammad.

Hughie Rose of the UK Chapter of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) said not only are Black youth being pulled over or stopped, but for those now facing charges for riot-related offenses, their right to fair and swift legal representation is also being questioned.

"They're actually expediting our youth very quickly through the court system without any proper legal advice or anyone watching the cases. They're doing 24-hour courts now and shutting off the courts to the public and doing the court cases in private," Rose told The Final Call. Even though parents and probation officers can be in the courtroom, Rose is concerned that youth are treated fairly, Black youth in particular.

The NBPP teamed up with local UK lawyers and other activist groups to formulate a defense campaign to monitor some of the court sessions in which Black youth are the defendants "to see exactly what they're doing with our youth," said Rose.

When asked if groups of White youth were also being randomly stopped or pulled over by police since the uprising, Muhammad responded, "If they are it's nowhere near the proportion that Black people are being abused and ill-effected by these draconian laws. No, no, no! White people don't have to suffer these kinds of things. These things are reserved for us as a people" said Muhammad.

"What this said to me is that this was planned by government to introduce these types of draconian measures," he added.

"There have been increased policing laws, including the arrest of people for having on a new pair of trainers (sneakers) and if you don't have the receipt with it. They're just arresting you automatically ... and since they've got the extra policing down here, 16,000 onto the scene they've gone wild in the community," said Rose, also noting preliminary reports that 11 police officers pepper sprayed and assaulted another Black man, Jacob Michaels, resulting in his death Aug. 22 in a predominately White area near Manchester.