*CLARIFICATION: This article has been amended to remove a quote from a Huffington Post article referring to the incident between 4Front and the Metropolitan Police as a ‘raid’. This is inaccurate, as 4Front founder Temi Mwale’s Facebook entry confirms (screenshots below). Apologies to 4Front for reprinting the error.*
Police put on a front ahead of rally
Thank you to all those who attended the rally against the overpolicing of black communities and police brutality in Tottenham on the 8th of August. The show of support for the cause was moving and a positive sign of the change organisations such as ours, Tottenham Rights, The Monitoring Group, 4Front, and Black Lives Matter UK are fighting for.
Unfortunately, we cannot mention the rally without reporting on an incident prior to it: on Friday 07 August, the Metropolitan Police carried out a shocking and unwarranted Section 23 stop and search under the Misuse of Drugs Act at the 4Front premises, which saw the arrest of a 14-year-old boy on suspicion of possession of cannabis, and the dragging of kids into vans ‘with no good reason’, according to eyewitnesses. All those arrested were released from Colindale Police Station’s custody soon afterwards. Founder Temi Mwale said:
We’ve been assaulted so many times here today. We have two members of my staff team that have been arrested.
We have several young people who have also been arrested. This is what we’re dealing with and I’ve told them we want it to be deescalated and yet they’ve refused.
This community is sick and tired of the way we’re being treated and now we need your support. We’re meant to be out there tomorrow, Tottenham police station, but instead we’re out here at Colindale police station right now.
The Met Police’s statement on the incident ends with the reporting of a haul of ‘thirteen bags containing cannabis’, but crucially omits the fact that none of it was found on anyone they arrested, begging the question ‘why didn’t the police just search the park?’ One answer might be that you can’t arrest a hedgerow for possession.