Hi. It’s been a few weeks since we caught up last but as always it’s great to find the time to sit down and write. I hope your week has been a good one and when it comes to training I hope it’s been a strong one. I’ve been pretty consistent with my training over the past few weeks and as of next week, I’m turning it up a notch further. I feel strong inside and confident that little by little I’m improving when it comes to sparring. The positive energy from training is something I carry into the rest of my life and I’m pleased to say energy is flowing into all the right spaces and places that make up me.
A few weeks ago I wrote about why I’m taking legal action against Avon and Somerset Police. Thanks to a tremendous fundraising campaign on CrowdJustice and some outstanding media coverage from the Canary plus most importantly ongoing support and solidarity from yourselves I’m really pleased to say I’ve raised the initial fundraising goal of £1500.00 to pursue action over a 2018 DPA breach that has resulted in a lot of police targeting and harassment over the course of time. I’d recommend the platform to anyone who needs to raise funds for a legal matter and can’t go via the legal aid route.
I’m catching up with Bindmans LLP early next week. Their reputation in righting wrongs when it comes to us and the police and state is formidable so I feel confident that although the road ahead may be a long one (hey there’s nothing new there) things inevitably will be put right, and the police as they should be will be held to account.
There is a stretch target of £8,000 running on my CrowdJustice in case we need to take the police to court over the matter, but as we’re also looking at article 8 breaches and intelligence sharing malpractice maybe, just maybe I can move my case into a civil claim. Of course, I’ll know more next week!. After 4 years of fighting for justice and to clear my name, I feel the glass should always remain half full. Later this year the CCRC is taking a look at the original wrongful and malicious conviction. Additionally, we are still waiting to hear from the ICO on the breach itself.
I’ve been very pleased to see many people on the martial arts scene being very supportive of my fight to clear my name and my ongoing fight for justice. I think sometimes when you tell people you’ve had a lot of police contact in your life or that the cops are harassing you it’s very easy to assume that like the police themselves, those listening will assume you are perpetually a ‘bloody criminal‘ It has been refreshing to hear people say “I can’t believe what they have done to you.” and the community of Bristol as a whole has shown a lot of empathy and can clearly see it.
But you know something? I’m not alone. It seems that the police here are quite willing to wage malicious, and often racist vendettas against anyone who decides to fight for their rights. The community project and independent police monitoring group Bristol Copwatch I hope is a breath of fresh air for working-class communities across the city and of course for anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of police misconduct and abuse of power. We are 2 years old this month. I think my dad would be very proud of me for being one of the creators of something so positive. I know my mum is.
Later this month I’m in Oxford with Copwatch getting my teeth sunk into the police once again, on a workshop on resilience, stop and search plus of course how to Copwatch. I think we’re even covering a little on SAR (subject access request) and why it matters. It was only by raising a SAR that I found out about the breach. The marker I had been looking for was there all along. When it comes to PNC entries as Bindmans has said the issue is the wording. Between you, me, and the gatepost it seems particularly malicious. We’ll see how things pan out over the next few weeks.
Outside of community work and day-to-day life trials and tribulations, I’m very pleased as always to have Muay Thai as my release valve. Like with everything else it’s a long road but it’s an investment in myself and it has helped me navigate many of the journeys in my life I have never ever wanted to make. An old friend once gave me a postcard of Muhammad Ali, and I wrote: “I am a survivor” on the back. That survivor is also a fighter. I always have been even before I found martial arts. I still walk tall and I’m getting stronger. Thanks to my friends and family for all your support and love. Here’s to winning all our fights in the ring and otherwise, and just like the last time… I’ll see you on that road.
Every time I look in the mirror, dad is looking back.