20 October 2010
Jesse Jackson brings civil rights fight to Britain
Civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson told England to clean up its act before being cast the global spotlight of the 2012 Olympics when he launched his new coalition to combat racial profiling and the abuse of police stop and search power.
Jackson joined a panel of victims and NGO members at King’s College on Tuesday to address recent figures showing that in England and Wales black people are stopped and searched seven times the rate of Caucasians while Asian people are stopped at twice the rate.
Jackson warned “Don’t live beneath the standards of equality of the Olympics and have this ugly behaviour blemish your reputation with the world watching.”
He accused British police of abusing their powers just as badly as U.S. forces, if not worse. He claimed section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994 and the Terrorism Act of 2007 are being overused and creating religious and racial discrimination in police practice.
Baron Victor Adebowale, Chief Executive of the social care organisation Turning Point, made a similar call to action during the panel discussion. “If we don’t discuss this in a civilised, planned and appropriate way then it will arise. It will bite society in the way it did in the 80’s in the riots of Brixton and throughout this country.”
The new organisation, Stop Watch, is an alliance of civil rights and religious NGO’s and academic societies. It will focus on using research to expose discriminatory policing, increase public awareness and offer sound alternatives.