Too many times to date during this long lingering Lockdown I’ve said please take me back – but I actually meant to the halcyon days of the pre-pandemic, not to the raw racist times of 1993.
I’m absolutely appalled that over two decades on from the McPherson Report, that was supposed to stop systematic and structural racism in its tracks, nothing seems to have changed.
Different circumstances, but same old story as, once again, we have a black man dying, a police force facing some serious questions, and a community left broken with anger and grief.
Mohamud Hassan was a young, healthy, twenty-four-year-old arrested by South Wales Police on Friday January 8. He was released without charge, in a distressed state, suffering numerous physical injuries, and died within hours.
It’s a tragic tale that Mohamud’s family, friends – and all of us who are working tirelessly towards an anti-racist Wales, need investigated thoroughly and urgently.
To reassure the community, we must know exactly what happened to the well-liked Cardiff man during his time in custody. And crucially if there is absolutely any connection between him being held at the Cardiff Bay Station and his untimely death just hours later.
South Wales Police have stated that they had, so far, found “no evidence of excessive force or misconduct.” And they have referred the matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
Beggars belief though doesn’t that after everything that happened when cops killed George Floyd across the water last year, leading to a pivotal moment in the fight for racial equality, we are back here, almost right where we started.
This year also marks a decade since the collapse of the UK’s biggest police-corruption trial into South Wales’ Police handling of the Cardiff Three. But still, in 2021, you are 6.8 times more likely to be stopped and searched by Cardiff police if you are Black, and you are 6.5 times more likely to go to prison if you are Black in Wales.
In my view, be it 1991, 1971, 1951, the racist record is just playing on repeat for our Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities due, depressingly, to a society that is skewed towards white privilege, rather than equality for all.
Nice to note though that the real resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement means most of our society want to see openness, honesty and accountability from our Public Services – demanding answers to questions that before were maybe left unasked.
And Mohamud’s death must make us fight for this transparency. We must visibly stand up and be counted for what we believe in whilst refusing to stay silent until the truth is told.
A concerted campaign is already underway to hold South Wales Police to account, driven by Black led organisations and supported by white allies – including Barry’s own Stand Up to Racism (Vale) collective. A five-day series of socially-distanced protests saw hundreds gather outside Cardiff Bay Police Station.
There is also a Justice for Mahamud Petition, calling for the release of the police’s body cam, and CCTV footage of the incident – the initial arrest, and subsequent detention and release, without charge of Mr Hassan.
A Go Fund Me page to help Mohamud’s family has been set up here. And last time I looked over £47, 000 had been raised so strong is the sense of feeling out there.
The funds raised will be spent on funeral arrangements, legal costs of solictors, extra expenses on reports and the private case the family are holding.
Once our campaign is finished all monies will directly be given to Mohamud’s immediate family to then spend on what is needed to win and receive the justice they deserve.
Mohamud’s funeral, which will adhere to our current strict social distancing rules, takes place tomorrow (Sunday January 17th) at 2.30pm at Noor El Islam Mosque – may he rest in eternal power.
For me, this deeply distressing incident demands answers. So while we peacefully protest, and patiently wait for the investigation outcome, we must also keep up the concerted quest for the truth.
We can also calmly consider the conclusion of that due process but never stop searching to see that justice is finally done.
I am well aware though that the pain will never end for Mohamud’s friends and family who have lost a loved one. My deepest condolences to all affected.
Justice for Mahamud is an absolute must for the family, for the community, and for us all, so everyone can see that Black Lives Matter is not just a soundbite but a solid statement for our society to start taking seriously.
Mohamud Mohamed Hassan.
Say his name.
BLM (Cardiff) have set up a Link Tree for the Mahamud Hassan Campaign – this includes Mahamud Hassan Fundraiser, Justice4Mahamud Petition, Body Cam Footage Police Petition, and a Welsh Media Report, all in one place: https://linktr.ee/blmcardiff
Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.