Police brutality

Picture this scene: a peaceful protest, with a group made up of women and men of all ages. Two of the women - both mothers, one of a single-parent family - have cameras, because the police have been known to have taken a bit of a heavy-handed approach in the past. They are part of an organisation called FitWatch, which monitors police activity and films officers in order to have a record so that complaints can be made if police act in a way that may be unlawful.

Of which repressive and brutal police state is this a map?
Copyright-free image from Wikipedia.

When the people with the cameras arrive, the police immediately identify them as members of FitWatch. You can't help but get the impression that the officers consider them to be a nuisance, though none of them say as much. One of the women notices that one policeman isn't wearing the numbers on his shoulder which, by law, he and all officers must wear while on uniformed duty so that he or she can be accurately identified by a member of the public in case of a complaint. She approaches the officer and asks him to identify himself but he refuses, claiming wrongly that he does not have to give that information. The woman replies, saying that he does. At no time is she aggressive and what's more she's correct - when asked by a member of the public, a police officer must identify himself unless he or she is engaged in a plain-clothes operation. She asks her colleague to photograph the policeman. This is not illegal, but another officers blocks the camera.

But the policeman doesn't identify himself. Instead, he grabs her by the throat and she is roughly forced to the ground and arrested. The other woman is treated in the same way - one officer grasps her by a pressure point in her neck and drags her away. Somebody else - a police officer - is filming the incident with a video camera - the footage clearly shows that one officer has placed his full weight on the woman's ankle, which is painfully twisted on the ground. She asks him to step off her because he is hurting her - he denies that he is standing on her foot.

Both women are bundled into a police van and taken to a police station where they are charged with obstructing officers and refused bail. They are denied their right to speak to a solicitor and held for four days, three of them in prison, though all charges are later dropped.

Where do you think this happened? Iran? North Korea? Saudi Arabia?

It's Kent, in southern England, where campaigners have been protesting at Kingsnorth Power Station, where two new coal-fired generator units are due to be installed, massively increasing the amount of pollution emitted by the facility - a proposal that has drawn widespread criticism from a number of environmental groups including Greenpeace, the WWF and the RSPB.

A complaint has been made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission who are now looking at this video. It is to be hoped that the officers involved will be identified, sacked and prosecuted - they have shown themselves to be aggressive, violent thugs and there is no place in an organisation that is supposed to protect the public for them.

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