International Day against Police Violence 15.03.
_______Stop racist police violence in custody!
On the occasion of Black Lives Matter Month 2019, an anti-racist alliance (including ISD, ReachOut, EOTO, KOP), launched the campaign “Death in Custody. Death in Custody. Clarification of the Death Circumstances in Custody Now!” in response to the many unexplained deaths of Black people and People of Color in custody.
As Alliance 15.03.*, we want to ensure that the names and stories of those who have been injured or killed in custody – in police stations and vehicles, prisons, deportation centers, shelters for refugees, psychiatries and hospitals – are not forgotten. We therefore want to take this year’s International Day against Police Violence on 15th March as an opportunity to walk the streets together, to remember and to show solidarity with those affected.
For many years now, Black Communities and Communities of Color have been criticizing that racist violence in state institutions is part of their everyday lifes, that so-called security institutions such as the police do not offer protection to Black People and People of Color, but rather repeatedly restrict and endanger their lives to a particular degree.
Racism is deeply rooted in society, including laws, administration and law enforcement agencies. We therefore speak of institutional racism. We do not believe in the thesis of so called “regrettable individual cases”. It is not individual racists who have certain jobs, it is the institutions themselves that are structured in a racist way.
Institutional racism has many faces: from racist criminalisation in form of racial profiling to physical violence and murder. Racist criminalization begins where Black People and Persons of Color are mainly targeted by police controls. This is especially true for so-called “dangerous places”, as they exist in many cities in the FRG and which the police describes as places with a higher amount of crime incidents. Due to the racism of the police, certain people are more often stopped and controlled than others, especially in these places. This practice results in people concerned being marked as “dangerous” and “criminal”.
But the police is not the only institution involved in the racist criminalisation of Black People and Persons of Color. Many court cases in recent years have shown that courts are also part of the problem. Racism is usually not a topic of discussion in the courts. Investigations often exclude racism and the police are rarely investigated. Instead, those affected by racist violence are made into offenders. This victim-offender-turnaround became apparent, for example, in the trials concerning the events in the Ankerzentrum Bamberg on 11 December 2018. The court did not want to know about the massive violence by the security staff and the police.
Even in case of deadly violence, the victims are mostly criminalised on the basis of racism. Black people and People of Color are repeatedly defamed as “aggressive” or “violent”. This is also the case with William Tonou-Mbobda, who was attacked by so-called security personnel of the Hamburg University Hospital (UKE) and died on 26.04.2019 after the massive assault.
People who are criminalized by being racially marked find themselves in a custody situation much faster than others. And they are confronted with racism there as well. They are confronted with officers who do not care about their rights and who pose a threat to the security and lives of those affected – in a system that supports and protects these structures.
We condemn all forms of racist violence and oppose a system that does not recognise people and disregards their rights, and that hurts and kills people out of racism. We stand in solidarity with those people affected by racist violence, who are stigmatised, criminalised, discriminated against, tortured and murdered in situations of detention.
And we want to remember – on 15 March 2020 and every other day – all those people who have died brutally in state custody in recent years. For these people and their relatives and friends* we demand justice and a complete clarification of the circumstances of their death.
Laye Alama Condé
Rooble Muse Warsame
And the others.
For more information: https://deathincustody.de & https://buendnis1503.blackblogs.org
*We are an alliance of different groups working on the issue of police violence and racism in the police: KOP (campaign for victims of racist police violence) & Copwatch.