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Metropolitan Police In London

Source: Mike Kemp / Getty

It appears that the police out in London are trying to give U.S. cops a run for their money when it comes to violating the civil rights of Black people.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct recently released a report on the stop and search tactics performed by the Met Police. Now, if you’ve been Black in America your whole life, you’re likely familiar with stop-and-frisk as well as the police culture of racial profiling in general—so you can guess how this story ends. It’s not much of a spoiler alert to say that the report revealed that cops in London are racist AF. (Also, I feel like somewhere there’s a U.K. Rudy Giuliani variant gritting his wooden teeth while practicing his “tough on crime” speech and toasting his teacup in celebration of a successful negroes-back-in-chains campaign.)

According to Mirror, the police watchdog organization laid out a laundry list of discriminatory and racially biased police practices while warning that such practices are eroding public trust in London police. (America is so “been there, done that” right now.) But perhaps the most disturbing revelation in the report revolved around a 17-year-old Black male who said that between February 2018 and May 2020, he was stopped and searched by police officers more than 60 times. So, basically, while he was between the ages of 14 and 16, he couldn’t walk to a corner store without wondering if another patrol car was going to pull up on him for walking while Black.

From Mirror:

This included sometimes being stopped on consecutive days or more than once a day.

The report said despite being stopped so often, and arrested, it never led to further action.

The IOPC quoted the complainant as describing: “the trauma of being intrusively and relentlessly over-policed” and being “discriminated against”.

They said the searches had a “drastic impact on his wellbeing, life and perception of policing and the justice system” to the extent he now fears and avoids police officers when possible.

Unsurprisingly, this teen’s story wasn’t exactly unique. The report also cited an incident where an 18-year-old Black man was jogging and police stopped him because, for whatever reason, they suspected him of marijuana possession. He reported that cops took him to the ground and handcuffed him only to come up empty after searching him for drugs.

Another incident involved a 14-year-old black child who was stopped and handcuffed while out walking through a cemetery with his grandmother. Police also found nothing after searching him. (At this point, I’m just surprised his grandmother wasn’t cuffed too.)

The list goes on and on with Black citizens recalling how they felt “vulnerable, humiliated and disrespected” after their encounters with police. And, again, for Black people in America, this “news” is all too familiar. The Met police apparently even defend their racist actions through denial and deflection the same way they do in the states. The report also detailed how all cops have to do is claim they smelled marijuana to justify a stop and search.

More from Mirror:

Officers allegedly shouted, “you’re lucky I’m in uniform” and “none of us are f***ing racists so shut up with that racist sh**” at a 15-year-old Black boy when he asked officers whether his ethnicity had played a part in him being stopped and searched after allegedly smelling of cannabis.

In another instance, an officer said to a Black man “I don’t know if you’re a criminal or not, but when you start to set your phone up and call people over it sets a bit of a scene for me”.

Riiiiiiiight, cops are justified in suspecting a Black man might be a criminal because he *checks notes* made phone calls.

The report noted that stop and search practices in London were legal and that they were designed to reduce crime. (Sound familiar?) So, now that this report has been released, one can only wonder if effective changes in police policy will be made.

But, honestly, this all just sounds too much like America for anyone to be hopeful of that.

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