He has been battling for civil rights in America for decades. Now, the Reverend Jesse Jackson has headed to the UK to tackle police brutality on those shores. He recently announced the formation of a UK action group against police racial profiling. According to Jackson, the new group will fight against abuse of police powers to stop and search people.
Called StopWatch, the organization will work to stop police from disproportionately stopping and searching ethnic minorities. “This,” says Jackson, “has been an ongoing–and growing–problem in the UK.” In fact, according to Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission published stats, 15 percent of those stopped and searched by police were black. And black people comprise just 2 to 3 percent of the population there.
“This organization is much needed,” says a spokesperson for Berkeley Copwatch, the original Copwatch group in the U.S. Launched in 1990. The group aims to protect citizens against police abuse. “Berkeley Copwatch supports anybody’s efforts to monitor police behavior and to look at what is really going on at the street level,” says the spokesperson. “The feedback we have gotten from police is that civilian monitoring does act as a deterrent; and at this point, they fear Youtube more than civilian review boards.”
Jackson´s new StopWatch will include activists and academics who, he has announced, will push the UK government to enact and enforce fair policing reforms.