The fight against police brutality and anti-Black racism

The officer steps on her neck with one foot placing his full weight on her neck

Let’s  take a look at the front page of this issue of The Caribbean Camera.

We see a picture of a policeman stepping on the neck of an unarmed Black woman.

The picture was taken in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

We do  not know what offence, if any, this unfortuate woman is supposed to have committed.

What we do know is that this picture which was shown on television in Brazil on the weekend, has caused an outrage,as indeed  it should have.

According to a news report from Brazil, two military police officers are to face “criminal charges” as a result of the incident and both officers have been  fired.

The report also quotes state governor Joao Doria as saying that he would  not tolerate such abuses and that 2,000 police officers in  Sao Paulo  would now be equipped with body cameras.

Body cameras? We hope police forces in Canada and the United States are paying attention.

Since the  killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis on May 25 last, police brutality continues to make headlines and are the subject of major news stories in  Canada, the United States and many countries around the world.

And we have heard the repeated calls for police officers to be equipped with body cameras.

Of course, the problems of  police brutality and racism are not new in the Black community in Toronto. Checking through some old newspaper files, we noticed that the subject was on the agenda at a provincial Black Youth Conference at Scadding Court  Community Centre back in September 1979.

Today, 41 years later, police brutality and anti-Black racism continue to be major public concern as demonstrated by the widely supported public protests and  rallies.

A November 2018 report published by the Ontario Human Rights Commission stated that between 2013 and 2017, a Black person in Toronto was nearly 20 times more likely that a White person to be involved in a fatal shooting by the Toronto police.

And thanks to cameras, more of the evidence of police brutality are being documented..

As Louis March, founder of the Zero Gun Violence Movement of Toronto reminded us in a recent interview, we have video footage of police encounters with the public, which were not available in 1979.

And as he pointed out, the video footage is supplied by civilians – not police.

Let us continue to be vigilant in our pursuit of truth and justice as we seek police reform and fight the good fight to end the ugly scourge of police brutality and anti-Black racism.

And let us  not forget to go out and vote when the time comes.