source: Fiona Kerr – 4WardEver
published: 7 December 2014
In November the 4WardEver UK Film Club blazed into action with Ken Fero’s poetic and powerful new film BURN. This important documentary, itself an act of of resistance, has now been released free to watch online in solidarity with Ferguson.
The film looks at what sparked the 2011 riots in England by showing 5 families, all black and working-class, that have lost loved ones at the hands of the police in the tight-knit community of Tottenham. It explores the hypocrisy of a government that claims riots abroad are the result of dictators and oppressive regimes, but here people are divorced from their social and political context and labelled mindless criminals.
The packed venue at The Drum, was stirred with a soundtrack of solidarity from rapper Lowkey – License to Kill, detailing police brutality. Then BURN was followed by a panel discussion with director Ken Fero , alongside families of those who have lost loved ones at the hands of the police – Tippa Naphtali, Jan Butler and Kedisha Brown-Burrell.
Tippa, the founder of 4WardEver, shared how his family had to wait 10 long years just for an apology from the police, after his cousin Mikey Powell was killed. Kedisha told how her brother, Kingsley Burrell’s, body wasn’t released from the coroners until 18 months after his death, and Jan told how the inquest into her son, Lloyd Butler’s, death didn’t give her the answers she sought.
All this, in contrast to the 24-hour court system, heavy-sentencing and wrongful arrests we saw after the ‘riots’. The panel asked, what is the function of the police when the families of innocent people killed at the hands of the state are left to endure lie after lie? When the system can so slickly and swiftly imprison a specific demography, yet is so painfully sedate when asked to respond to police violence? What is the justice we seek –surely we’re fighting for more than a police officer going to prison?
Yet, still these families fight on, defiantly, in the face of injustice, to make positive reforms across Birmingham by standing up and demanding to be heard.
You can follow 4WardEver’s campaign successes here which include influencing the introduction of the mental health street triage scheme, supporting children of families affected by deaths in custody and abandoned by the state, and encouraging improved CCTV across all custody suites in the West Midlands.
BURN, and all the speakers on the panel, show how critical it is that we document and share stories and images that defy dominant media portrayals.
Audio from the our film night will follow soon….
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