Brighton & Hove City Council stands in solidarity with protesters in America
On 25 May 2020, George Floyd, a Black man, died when a white police officer pressed his knee to Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes while he was handcuffed face down on the ground.
George Floyd's death has sparked global demonstrations and protests against racism and police brutality.
Today we issue a statement in solidarity with people of colour who have died after contact with the justice system and in support for everyone protesting for equal rights in America and across the world.
“We stand in solidarity with the family, friends and community of George Floyd in Minneapolis. We in the UK cannot ignore yet another death of an unarmed person of colour in police custody.
“As a council, we recognise that George Floyd’s death took place in the context of centuries of social deprivation and economic extraction that have been endured by people of colour.
“As anti-imperialists we recognise that America has been built on the slavery, dispossession and subjugation of its native and BAME population.
“As anti-racists, we stand shoulder to shoulder with all those in America and across the world who feel anger, hurt and fear after yet another instance of discriminatory state violence.
“Although we are grateful and recognise the good work that the police do in protecting communities in our city and their joint work with the council, it is also crucial that we in the UK recognise that we are still not immune from institutional racism in our justice system.
“Despite progress following the McPherson Inquiry, BAME people still statistically suffer more use of force in the UK, are over-represented in the prison population and are more likely to be sent to prison than white offenders.
“According to INQUEST, BAME communities were twice as likely to die in custody. The Runnymede Trust found that, between 1995 and 2015, no police officer was prosecuted over a person of colour’s death in custody.
“It is of great concern that it appears that some within the justice system can act with impunity as they very rarely face criminal prosecutions.
“We all have a responsibility to tackle racism. Brighton & Hove take pride in being a City of Sanctuary and a community committed to celebrating our diversity and opposing prejudice and racism.
“We call on the UK government to take this opportunity to reassess the racial disparities in our criminal justice system.
“Now is the time to end the severe class and racial inequalities which exist across the world.’
This Friday evening, 5 June, from 8pm, Brighton Palace Pier, the Brighton Centre and the BA i360 will be lit in purple in support against inequality in all its forms.
The council also asks the city to come out on their doorstep and stand or ‘take the knee’ and hold a minute’s silence on 8pm on Friday evening in solidarity with people of colour.
Councillor Nancy Platts (Council Leader and Labour Party Group Leader) and Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty (Leader of the Opposition and Convenor of the Green Party) will also be jointly writing to Black Lives Matter in Minneapolis expressing their sympathy and solidarity with the people of colour of the city.