Since the end of May 2015, writer, blogger, poet, and freelance journalist Siana Bangura and award-winning filmmaker Troy James Aidoo have embarked on an overwhelming journey of education and facing up to some very painful truths. Propelled by the death of Sheku Bayoh on 3rd May 2015 – a man killed in cold blood by police in Scotland – they set about trying to understand why his death was not met with the same outrage as the equally horrific deaths of our African-American brothers and sisters. After much soul searching, research, and questioning, they discovered that quite simply, enough people just did not know that these things happen in the UK too.
In Britain, racism is insidious and institutionalised. In the UK, racism is always up for debate. In the UK, we are always told things are better here than in the USA. Troy and Siana don’t agree and that’s why they are making 1500 And Counting, in order to place a much needed spotlight on police brutality and the gross misconduct of our forces here on British soil.
Since 1991, there have been over 1500 deaths in police custody or following police contact. Of that number, a disproportionate amount have been victims of colour, despite people of colour making up no more than 14% of the British population. And in all that time, extraordinarily, not one police officer has been brought to justice.
This cannot go on.
Siana and Troy, like you, would love to change the world, but they understand their limitations. But what they can do, with your help is make a well-researched and top quality film that tells the stories of some of the victims of police brutality, the families who have been directly affected, and organisations fighting against the corruption.
When you finally know what’s happening, you can no longer turn a blind eye.