Letter to Cllr. Kevin Peel from BLM Manchester

by Colette William

Dear Mr Kevin Peel as one of the leads for Black Lives Matter Manchester I was and am extremely appalled at both your tweet and your ridiculous veiled attempt at an explanation and apology.

You wrote ‘It is incredibly irresponsible to accuse someone of something so serious without making any attempt to speak to the person first’.

Firstly there would have been no need for anyone to have alerted you to this post if you had not blocked people from your account. I attempted to contact you today representing 
Black Lives Matter MCR, 
Manchester Lead for Black Activists Rising Against Cuts; BARAC 
Manchester and Trafford Momentum, 
Greater Manchester Momentum BME Caucus, 
Labour Member, 
Pan African Congress 45 Foundation, 
An Activist, 
And a Manchester resident.

I am also aware that many others have tried to contact you in regards to your tweet.

Your accusation of Manchester and Trafford Momentum trying to mislead people is gut-wrenchingly offensive.

Secondly, could you please explain as to why the ‘original tweet’ seemed to be humorous — given the current climate on deaths in police custody, both here in the UK as well as the US, even more so after the tragic death of Mzee Mohammed, I am struggling to find why, even on the surface, it appeared to be funny.

The name Lashawn obviously refers to a Black person, they (in the picture) are surrounded by police; the original tweet refers to bail conditions; further down in your statement you state that the Black Lives Matter movement is an important one and allude to your familiarity of it, you also claim that you fight discrimination — all forms, and therefore you should be aware of the problems that Black people face within the police/criminal system — 33% more likely to be arrested, more likely to be imprisoned than white counterparts and given longer and harsher sentences and are at a higher risk of dying in police custody.

So again I ask for you to explain why it would seem, even on the surface, funny?

I will of course agree with you that your retweeting is, at least, ‘offensive and inappropriate’ but I won’t comment as to how stupid you are.

Furthermore You have neglected to mention that on receiving complaints about your retweet, you, adding insult to injury, call it ‘faux outrage’. Mr Kevin Peel be assured there is nothing ‘faux’ about this.

You wrote ‘Everything since then — including any suggestion of knowledge of the source of the picture, association of any words — used or attempts to create some malicious intent on my part — are entirely the efforts of other people with their own agendas and have nothing to do with me. I did not say, endorse or in any way support any racist message and I’m angry that I even need to say this.’

ASSOCIATION OF WORDS could you please explain as to how you came to retweet the picture using the words ‘CAN’T BREATHE’

These words were the last words spoken by Eric Garner as he lay on the floor gasping for breath whilst he was being held in a prohibited choke hold which then led to his death.

Mr Peel, there are 1,025,109.8 words in the English Language, what are the odds/likelihood/probability of you randomly picking ‘CAN’T BREATHE’ in reference to this particular picture?

You say that you use this term frequently — well if that is the case, please share where.

But it still it doesn’t in anyway shape of form explain why you would ‘belly laugh’ at someone in such a precarious situation. I say precarious because when Kingsley Burrell Brown called on the police, just like Christopher Alder, because they believed that the police would protect them — they both died after receiving massive injuries — so any contact with the police is scary — I just don’t get it. We don’t get it.

Your retweet prefaced by smiley faces and CAN’T BREATHE mocks, dismisses, insults the BLM Movement but more importantly it reduces all those that have died as well as their families who have been fighting long and hard for justice to a joke. Ask the families of
Sarah Reed
Christopher Alder
Smiley Culture
Jimmy Mubenga
Michael Powell
Leon Briggs
Ricky Bishop
Brian Douglas
Joy Gardner
Mark Duggan
Sean Rigg
Leon Patterson
Cynthia Jarrett
Cherry Groce
Derek Bennett
Kingsley Burrell 
Joy Gardner
Roger Sylvester
Azelle Rodney
Habib Ullah
Faruk Ali
Adrian Thompson
Jean Charles de Menezes
Demetre Frazer
Aston McLean
Seni Lewis
Anthony Grainger
Rocky Bennett
Alton Manning
Mark Nunes 
How funny they find it…..

BLM has always stated, and groups that have been fighting against institutional and structural racism, that the disproportionately of deaths and the way in which we are treated by the police and criminal justice system is racist; MacPherson Report.

And if you are to be believed that you understand the importance of Black Lives Matter then you would understand any form of ridicule, not only condones the actions of the police in such situations but you find the lives of Black people cheap and dispensable and their deaths up for mockery and ridicule.

Your attempt to show yourself as a person that understands the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement is sickingly crass and disingenuous — I would like to draw to your attention that on 11th July, 2016, Black Lives Matter held a rally in Manchester wherein over 3,000 people attended and as a person who was involved in the rally I can say without hesitation that we have not heard a word from you on this issue so please refrain from saying that you believe it is an important matter as you clearly don’t.

In reference to you being a lifelong campaigner against all forms of discrimination I can quite confidently say that as a lifelong Black person, who has dealt with racism all my life and in particular being active for the last 10 years I have never ever heard, come across you, heard reference to your name in regards to fighting racism.

You wrote ‘To those who actually saw the tweet and were genuinely offended by a daft re-tweet of an inappropriate message I am happy to apologise’…..and yet still NO apology.

You finish off by saying ‘To those who’ve tried to make it something else entirely for the purpose of a political smear, I have to say as a lifelong campaigner against all forms of discrimination I find your behaviour immoral and an affront to the important Black Lives Matter movement.’ ……….I really don’t know what to say!

And still No Apology.

In The Struggle
Colette Williams

Follow me on twitter here: www.twitter.com/greglabour