On Tuesday April 1st 2008 a 19yr old African Man named Ezekael Burton was arrested by the Police in North West London.
It should be noted that Ezekael is also the son of one of the InPDUM Members in London; Afia Burton
Ezekael had previously been in Prison before standing before a judge in 2007 when he was 18 yrs old. He was held on remand for 11 months for an alleged house burglary but had just been released after overwhelming evidence which proved his innocence in January 08, proving also that a crime had been committed against him.
Since his release; the police have been constantly stopping & searching him without cause. A routine week for him is to be stopped around 10 – 15 times jeered or harassed by the NW London Police. His family can attest to receiving calls and texts from the police promoting more harassment.
The aim with Ezekael as with the community at large is to define Africans as a Criminal Community.
On April 1st at around 6pm “Afia” was shopping with her youngest son “L.J” when she was greeted by Ezekael’s girlfriend who told her that her son had been arrested at 3PM earlier that day.
Immediately Afia began calling as many friends as she could to help in the search for Ezekael, because in the beginning we had no idea where Ezekael was, i.e. what station he had been taken to, but she did end up heading to Wembley Police station (which is the central station for the borough) with one of her friends; largely because of previous bad experiences with this particular station.
It was Wembley police who had broke into Afia’s home in the past, at one time injuring Afia’s right arm when this had happened.
Afia could speak to over 2yrs of Police harassment by Wembley Police in fact.
The International Peoples Democratic Uhuru Movement educates the entire African community on the role of the Police in our community, whose presence is further means to oppress, intimidate and maintain the status of poverty and disorganisation in our community.
Afia in fact had attended a community meeting on police harassment and police violence in Brixton the previous night. The next day her son was arrested, by the reactionary tactics of the Police officers.
Once Afia had contacted InPDUM we organised phone ins to Wembley and Kilburn Police station who we suspected had Ezekael in custody
This effort led by London InPDUM President Ruth Kimathi, & other Movement organisers, we demanded the location and release of Ezekael. The aim was to let the family, and the police know that the community was outraged and that they would not be suffering in isolation.
The first thing the Police tried to do was to try & absolve themselves of any wrong doings. They didn’t want this to be a community case they wanted it to be just another day in the African community
As Afia approached Wembley Police station she received a call from her 16yr old son “Tyrone” who was anxious saying the Police were outside their home demanding to enter the house & threatening to kick the door down.
Afia had given him instructions to not open the door and the Police were handed the phone through the window where she spoke to them
At this stage Afia was telling the Police to not go into her home without her present, Tyrone was at home and she had left her youngest son L.J there as well when she left for the Police station
Afia quoted the Child’s Act 04 which permitted them to enter her home without the responsible parent present. The Officer responded to this saying don’t tell him about the law, because he is the law! and he is going to do what he wants!
Without a doubt Afia was frantic at this time, and only had the consul from one of her friends who was with her and the knowledge that the Movement, amongst others were still putting pressure on the Police, and searching for Ezekael.
Shortly after speaking to the Police Tyrone rang Afia again saying the Police had left the house, where she continued towards Wembley Police station. Upon arrival she was shortly joined by two other friends and family.
The Police was giving everyone the run around, the people who went to the station and the people who were calling in. None of us knew the reason for the arrest, and the Police despite claiming ignorance, knew exactly who Ezekael was.
It was at this time the Police executed the next phase of their plans they were back at Afia’s house and this time they broke in. One of the neighbours had called Afia to notify her of this
The police had no evidence to arrest Ezekael of anything, and needed a reason to hold him in custody, so their aim would be to find something at home.
What happened is Tyrone had gone outside for some air & so as if they were waiting for him to come out, the Police came back at that point asking to search the house again.
Responsibly Tyrone reminded them that he had his 12yr old brother alone up the stairs, but the Police told Tyrone to get his brother down here to open the door.
Then without warning the Police decided to just break into the house damaging the door shouting POLICE POLICE!! knowing there was only one young boy in the house.
L.J, who as Tyrone said; was in the house, and now in his brothers room frightened by the break in. The Police started shining bright lights into his eyes when they found him & handcuffed Tyrone pinning him on the floor.
Afia went back home to check on her children, while her friends stayed at the station continuing the enquiry about Ezekael.
Members of the Uhuru Movement learned while speaking to the Police over the phone that Ezekael wasn’t at Wembley Police station, nor Kilburn Police station, but was at Collingdale Police station
While we were speaking to the Police we was demanding his release & the reason behind his arrest. Because they were so frustrated at our persistence, they let out an accidental hint that he was at Collingdale, and then started hanging up on our calls. One officer because of the bombardment of calls openly admitted to us sometimes the Police arrest innocent people & send them to Prison for no reason
Physically L.J and Tyrone were fine, but they were clearly distraught by what had happened probably more so Tyrone who has a disability.
The door had been destroyed by the Police “the Perpetrators” & they had left no crime number to call where the council could quickly come to fix the door as it now could not close.
They were responsible for leaving two vulnerable young men alone after failing to find any incriminating evidence against Ezekael, just left them liable for anyone to just break into their home or harm them. They only had left a CAD number which the Housing Association did not accept as a valid reason to come out and deal with this urgent matter
But Afia could now confirm that Colindale Police station was the next place to look for Ezekael, as their insignia was on the CAD paper, which is the papers they are using as a warrant for their unlawful break in.
Not only had the Police been lying to the Movement, but also to the solicitor assigned to the case, where this officially became recognised as a legal case against the Police
So in the early hours of Wed 2nd April 08 InPDUM sent organisers down to Collingdale Police station at around 1am in the morning where some members and friends were still present and where we met up with Afia.
We was demanding the release of Ezekael & the reason behind his arrest for over an hr, at the Police station and showed signs of strength as a community giving them a sense of Black Power.
The Police were told in no uncertain terms that the community would be informed and the struggle intensified if not for the release of Ezekael Burton, 24hrs after his abduction (which is all this was) and we would be back the next day at 3PM
InPDUM sent organisers down to Collingdale the next day, & before we arrived we had learned that Ezekael had been released, but typical of the Police, Ezekael’s clothes had been confiscated, and he was wearing an all white uniform, which symbolised he had just been released from Police custody, and essentially would give people passing by the impression to assume his guilt regardless of his innocence.
What happened to Ezekael is all to typical to the vulnerability of our community if we continue to be disorganised and separated from one another.
The fact is the Police are doing their job keeping us oppressed, and they have the state apparatus /power to actualise their will.
The InPDUM is the organisation that must be built which appeals to the masses of African People who collectively possess real power to actualise its will. If we are ever to assume the responsibility of leading our Democratic struggles we are calling on all serious freedom loving people to join our movement for Freedom and social Justice
This case continues…