Derry Black Lives Matter prosecutions still under consideration as petition calls for fines to be dropped

A decision has not yet been issued in respect of three files sent to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) in relation to the Black Lives Matter protest in Derry last June, the ‘Journal’ understands.

The files were forwarded to the PPS by the PSNI in relation to suspected breaches of the COVID-19 regulations at the protest on June 6, 2020.

The ‘Journal’ understands they remain under active consideration.

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A petition calling for fines issued to Black Lives Matter protestors in Derry last June to be dropped has been presented to the Assembly.

Fifty-seven fines and community resolution notices (CRNs) were issued in Derry for alleged breaches of the coronavirus restrictions during the protest in Guildhall Square on June 6 last.

Eleven fines were issued at a similar protest in Belfast while a number of individuals were reported to the Public Prosecution Service with a view to prosecution.

The petition, signed by nearly 6,000 people, calls for the fines against those protesting the police treatment and death of Mr. George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis in the United States on May 25, 2020, to be waived.

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Gerry Carroll, a People Before Profit MLA, formally handed the petition.

He said: “Racism is a horrible cancer in our communities, and, worryingly, it is on the rise.

“The issuing of such a disproportionate number of fines to people who took part in events that were not only righteous and important but safe should never happen again.

“Our cities should be places where minorities can express their rights, demonstrate and show their disgust at racial injustice.

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“Never again should members of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community or any other minority community here be frightened to take a stand for what they believe in.”

Just before Christmas the Police Ombudsman, Marie Anderson, reported that claims from protestors that the police handling of the Black Lives Matter protests in Derry and Belfast and a counter demonstration amounted to unfairness and discrimination, were justified.

She concluded that this was not intentional and not based on race or ethnicity, but that confidence in policing among some within the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in the north had been severely damaged. PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne has apologised to members of the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) community who were left angry and frustrated over the handling of the protests.