‘1500 And Counting‘ – The abuse of black British people by police is often overlooked, but a new film is set to break the silence.
On 11 January 2016, Sarah Reed, a vulnerable 32-year-old woman suffering with mental health issues, was found dead in her cell in north London’s Holloway prison, where she was on remand awaiting trial.
Throughout her life, she had been a victim of failings by the British state: in October 2012, she reported being sexually assaulted while being detained under the Mental Health Act, and in November 2012 she was ruthlessly beaten up by a police officer, with the attack caught on camera.
Jen Marlowe’s newest book, I Am Troy Davis, was published right around the second anniversary of Davis’s September 2011 execution by the state of Georgia. Davis was killed by lethal injection despite considerable evidence suggesting that he was innocent.
Davis was convicted of the 1989 murder of police officer Mark MacPhail in Savannah, Georgia. Years of appeals were unsuccessful despite significant doubts about his guilt.
Davis’s original trial was flawed, and most of the witnesses later recanted or contradicted their stories.
The news about the Lawrence verdict and sentencing took me back to the mid-1990s – the case has been hanging for such a shameful length of time – when we journalists stood around gaping at Paul Dacre’s sensational “Murderers” headline in the Daily Mail, and discussing what it all meant. (The paper challenged the five suspects to sue: did that mean sue for criminal libel? For which legal aid was available? Well, they didn’t sue.)