Police brutality in the U.S. is a topic that's seen mass media coverage in the past couple of years, but the same issue in the U.K. is not so widely discussed. Poet and journalist Siana Bangura and filmmaker Troy James Aidoo are seeking to change that.
The pair have been working with the family of Sheku Bayoh, a Sierra Leonean man who was killed by police in Scotland in May 2015, to produce a film called 1500 and Counting—the name references the fact that there have been over 1500 deaths in the U.K. either in police custody, or following police contact, since 1991. This number includes Sarah Reed, a woman who was a victim of police brutality in 2012, and died in Holloway prison in January 2016.
Bangura and Aidoo have begun shooting the film, but in order to release it and hold screenings around the U.K. in summer 2016, they are seeking financial help via an IndieGoGo page. The deadline for donations is tomorrow, Saturday March 12.
Bangura writes on the film's crowdfunding page of the motivation behind the project:
"In Britain, racism is insidious and institutionalized. In the U.K., racism is always up for debate. In the U.K., we are always told things are better here than in the U.S.A. Troy and I don't agree and that's why we are making this film to place a much needed spotlight on police brutality and the gross misconduct of our forces here on British soil.
"Since 1991, there have been over 1500 deaths in police custody or following police contact. Of that number, the vast majority have been victims of color, despite people of color making up no more than 14% of the British population. And in all that time, extraordinarily, not one police officer has been brought to justice."