By Josephine Berry, 10 September 2001

Josephine Berry on the film Injustice

Recent attempts to screen the film Injustice, covering the deaths of black men and women at the hands of London’s metropolitan police, have met with a tacit admission of guilt. Without having watched it, the solicitors representing the officers involved, threatened The Cornerhouse in Manchester, the Conway Hall and Lux and Metro cinemas in London with libel suits which put a stop to screenings. Such defensive maneuvering alone is suspicious enough, but the evidence pieced together by the film seems irrefutable. But sadly no matter how compelling the evidence, when the state is in the dock, it falls on deaf ears. Out of the three murdered men comprising the film’s primary subjects – Shiji Lapite, Brian Douglas and Ibrahima Sey – only Sey’s inquest met with a verdict of ‘unlawful killing’. Nevertheless, the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute the officer involved – no explanation given.

Having been driven underground by legal threats which amount to nothing less than harassment, Migrant Media were forced to adopt rave-style tactics. On August 10, on a sweltering summer night, a crowd met at Turnpike Lane tube station and taken to a previously undisclosed location. In the close atmosphere of the local Caribbean cultural centre, we watched the film in the presence of the victims’ families who spoke afterwards. If the police could have predicted how this underground scenario would bring audiences together with the families concerned, orchestrating face-to-face discussions which fleshed out the abstract horror of these crimes, they’d have thought twice before threatening legal action.

Migrant Media’s attempts to get the film screened have not stopped. They are planning a week of screenings at London’s Ritzy in early September, and an underground screening on 10 September. “I hope they try to sue us”, says director Ken Fero, “because if they do, we’ll win.”

Josephine Berry <josie AT> is deputy editor of Mute, former co-editor of Crash Media and a soon-to-be Doctor of the dark arts of the net. Her PhD is available at Metmute's M-Files. [].

See the Injustice website for screening details: []