STOP ARMING THE US POLICE!

by Jay Smith

STOP ARMING THE US POLICE!

by Jay Smith
Jay Smith
Case Owner
I am a black British citizen, and a former US resident, with close friends in the US who are at risk of police brutality.
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Jay Smith
Case Owner
I am a black British citizen, and a former US resident, with close friends in the US who are at risk of police brutality.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: Aug. 27, 2020

Update: we reached our initial target!

A big thank you to all who donated to help us reach our target. A few weeks ago the government confirmed that it has completed the review of the exports and has decided that it’s fine to contin…

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The situation in the US

The past few weeks have seen widespread protests across the world against police brutality and systemic racism.The response of the US authorities has been horrifying, as the police and National Guard have attacked peaceful protesters causing injury and terror.

The British government is supporting this repression of protesters by exporting equipment used by the US security services to quell the protests. Tear gas, rubber bullets and other potentially lethal equipment is being supplied. 


What's at stake?

When challenged on this, Boris Johnson said that exports of this equipment are subjected to scrutiny and will comply with human rights guidance. That guidance requires the UK to make detailed, case by case assessments of any requests for equipment from US Security Services, particularly where there is widespread evidence of dangerous and irresponsible use of that equipment. 

Those assessments must lead to the withholding of exports from any branch of the Security Services that has acted irresponsibly in its use of the equipment. Moreover, where there is clear and immediate evidence of the possibility of such use, exports should be suspending pending such assessments. The Prime Minister has refused to show that these assessments have been done, and has refused to suspend exports whilst they are done.  

I am therefore asking my government to stop these exports until there is no longer any risk that the equipment will be used to repress peaceful protest and endanger lives. 

Why am I raising funds?

As a black British citizen, and a former US resident with close friends there who are at risk, it is my duty to do what I can to protect them.  I am asking you to help me do this, as I face huge debts if the case is unsuccessful, because in the UK the loser pays the winner’s legal costs, which can be tens of thousands of pounds.nI do not have the money to risk that, so I need your help to make sure that I am not left bankrupt if we lose the case, and if I can get legal aid (which is not guaranteed), the Legal Aid Agency are likely to ask me to fundraise for a contribution to my legal costs if they are willing to fund the case.

My legal challenge

My lawyers have already sent a letter setting out the basis of the case, and a response is awaited.  You can read it on my lawyers' website here.  Assuming they don’t back down, the next step is for my lawyers to prepare the court documents and start the case in the High Court. The first step is to hit the initial target of £10,000 to enable me to do this.

My legal team

My lawyers are Deighton Pierce Glynn solicitors, who have a well-known track record in civil liberties and judicial review cases, having represented the families of black people killed in police custody in the UK in inquests and litigation and acted for victims in the Undercover Policing Inquiry and the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry.  They have brought cases challenging British security assistance overseas before, having challenged British training of the Sudanese Armed Forces in 2015. My barristers are Richard Hermer QC of Matrix Chambers and Julianne Kerr Morrison of Monckton Chambers, who have massive experience in cases like this.

Support from human rights organisations

We have reached out to a number of great organisations to provide evidence for the case: Global Legal Action Network; Omega Research; Amnesty International; Bellingcat; and others.

Recent contributions

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Update 1

Jay Smith

Aug. 27, 2020

Update: we reached our initial target!

A big thank you to all who donated to help us reach our target. A few weeks ago the government confirmed that it has completed the review of the exports and has decided that it’s fine to continue exporting arms to the US police and security services. We think this decision is unlawful, so we wrote back explaining why and asking them to reconsider. They asked for more time, and we have explained why that is not acceptable. Events in Kenosha over the last few days have underscored this. See our website to read this correspondence exchange. 

We continue to work on getting the evidence together for the case, with the help of GLAN, CAAT, Amnesty International, and Bellingcat. We hope to be in a position to do so next week. We will keep you informed, but please continue to donate and spread the word. This work is difficult and time-consuming, and involves significant financial risk for our client.

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