InPDUM condemns the murder of Demetre Fraser by West Midlands Police!

In Birmingham, on the morning of May 31, 2011 the life of a 21-year-old African man named Demetre Fraser from Peckham, South London was taken away from his family, friends and the African community at large by the all too familiar hands of the terrorist West Midlands Police.

Demetre was in Birmingham as a condition of bail pending a trial for a trumped up charge, based on an unsubstantiated allegation that he had threatened his girlfriend with a firearm. The charge was about to be dropped following the withdrawal of the original statement by his girlfriend and Demetre was looking forward to returning home to Peckham.

West Midlands Police invaded the tower block where Demetre was staying at around 9am that morning, in what was alleged to be a routine tag check. The police claimed that Demetre committed suicide by jumping out of the window. Witness statements from the tower block, however, were obtained by Demetre's mother, just 12 hours after the incident suggested a different scenario. Witnesses attest to hearing a commotion taking place between the 8th and 11th floors, casting doubt on the police version of events.

More than 340 deaths in custody have occurred in this country in the last 12 years, of which the vast majority are said to be so-called "ethnic minorities." Meanwhile, no cop in the UK has ever been convicted for murder or manslaughter.

Although it is widely known that Africans are dying at a disproportional rate under these kind of circumstances, the official figures for how many Africans have been killed is difficult to ascertain. This is due to several factors.

For one thing, there does not appear to be any place where these figures are broken down by ethnic origin. Another factor is that, police brutality often goes unreported. In addition, many so-called "gang land murders" are instigated by police.

According to an "independent review" commissioned by former home secretary Charles Clarke in 2006, police crime figures ignore the 60 percent of offences that go unreported.

The question we need to ask ourselves is, how much of this estimated 60 percent would have been crimes committed by the police themselves? How many more Africans have been brutalized and even killed that we know nothing about?

Demetre was the second African to leave this world at the hands of British police brutality in the West Midlands this year, following the murder of Kingsley Burrell just two months earlier.

He joins a long list of over one thousand Africans who have died at the hands of British Police since the '50s, when Africans came to the UK for the first time in modern history from the Caribbean to help rebuild post-war Britain.

Same kind of police violence kicked off recent rebellions

Despite the efforts of the State and British ruling class media to disassociate recent rebellions that shook the country with any kind of stance against police and State repression, they were a direct response to the police murder of another young African man named Mark Duggan in Tottenham.

It is clear to InPDUM that the conditions that make it possible for such acts of violence to take place in Tottenham in the case of Mark Duggan, or in Birmingham in the case of Demetre Fraser and Kingsley Burrell, do not exist in isolation.

They are the same conditions that exist in Brixton, where several African men have been murdered including 25-year-old Ricky Bishop, whose mother — InPDUM member Doreen Jjuuko — faced constant attacks by the State in order to try to intimidate her into backing down in the fight for justice for her son and the African community. They are the same conditions that Africans face all over the country and the world.

Demetre's mother abandoned by opportunists

Organizers of a recently scheduled peaceful march through Peckham to demand justice for Demetre's murder chose to cancel the event against the wishes of Demetre's mother. The march was scheduled to take place the Saturday after the rebellions.

The reason these organizers gave for cancelling was that the stewards who were mostly from the Brixton area did not want to march through Peckham in fear of some perceived threat of violence.

The suggestion to cancel the event is yet another attempt by the same African petty bourgeoisie, who would collaborate with the State to criminalize us for their own personal and class interest, to pacify the resistance of the African community.

Josie Fraser, Demetre's mother, had gone to great efforts to organize donations of a sound system and truck as well as having spent her own money on producing 10,000 fliers for the march. Despite the cancellation, she held a community gathering in his honour on that day, rather than let her efforts and those of other contributors go to waste.

Josie has been placed in the worst situation that any mother can ever imagine — that of having to bury her own child. The funeral, due to take place on Friday, September 2, 2011, has already been cancelled twice for a second independent pathology report amongst other things.

In addition, the funeral has been threatened with cancellation a third time due to lack of cooperation from Southwark Council, which had originally agreed to foot the bill for the community funeral that Josie wanted for her son. Since then, they have done everything possible to scale down and make the funeral into a "swept under the rug" style event.

Although friends and family have done their best to contribute financially, the about turn by Southwark Council has put Demetre's mother under tremendous emotional strain and serious financial pressure.

Stand with the family of Demetre Fraser!

InPDUM is of the firm opinion that no African, especially one in Josie Fraser's position should have to bury her child alone. Therein we also understand that it is our community's responsibility to come together to support and defend her and, in doing so, defend ourselves from further attacks.

We are calling on the African community to organize ourselves in order to make this happen. Only an organized African community can do it!

We are calling on African organizations who agree with our stance to work with us to support and defend the family of Demetre Fraser. We are calling all Africans who want to be a part of a real solution to this problem to join us and be a part of a committee against the public policy of police containment.

We are also calling on all other progressive non-African forces to take a stance in solidarity with us by endorsing our just demands unconditionally and supporting the same right of Africans to resist as all oppressed people have to remove the foot of the oppressor from their necks.

Our demands:

       · Immediate suspension of all police officers involved in the attack on Demetre Fraser!
       · The immediate arrest of all police officers involved in the attack on Demetre Fraser on a charge of suspicion of murder!
       · Reparations to the family of Demetre Fraser!
       · Immediate withdrawal of the public policy of police containment of the African community to be replaced by real economic development for the African community!

What can you do? Any or all of the following:

       · Attend the mass meeting on Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 5.30pm at Peckham Library
       · Join the committee to end the public policy of police containment
       · Donate funds to the funeral expenses and the campaign itself
       · Sign the petition in support of the above demands
       · Keep in touch with InPDUM for updates in the case and campaign

End police brutality in our community!
Our community must fight back!

InPDUM London Organizing Committee
For more information, get in touch with us. Contact info at the head of this statement.

Address: InPDUM, PO Box 58842, London, SE15 2XX, Phone: 07723-067-486, Email: london@inpdum.org, Facebook: InPDUM London, Websites: www.inpdum.org, www.uhurunews.com

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