We write in outrage at the unjust, racist and classist prosecution of 10 boys from our city found guilty by association for the crimes of conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit GBH. No one was killed in this case and, nearly forty days in court revealed, many of those prosecuted were never involved in or accused of direct involvement in any violence. Rather the prosecution deployed a racist ‘gang’ narrative drawing upon text messages, drill lyrics and videos to bind and implicate all ten in a criminal conspiracy. We recognise that the few who committed harm admitted this and accepted responsibility for hurting others. Others who committed no harm were implicated simply for sending text messages in grief following the death of a childhood friend. These boys needed support and care in dealing with their grief. All are now facing lengthy prison sentences, their lives and freedom – the years of their 20s and 30s – stripped from them. Their families and friends are facing the devastating loss of their kin and loved ones.
We stand in solidarity with the 10 boys, their families, friends and loved ones and all those found guilty by association.
We condemn the State’s punitive response to the grief of our young people and the lack of societal care for those who needed support. The testimony given by these boys should educate us all in the interlocking structures of state violence responsible for the real conspiracy to strip young Black and working-class people of their freedom. Those structures can be tracked from draconian school exclusion policies and racist policing practices to the £2.5 million super court in which this, and many other ‘gang’ prosecutions, will be held.
We thank Kids of Colour and their director Roxy, one of our steering group members, for supporting the boys and for telling us all about who they really are. We are grateful for your tireless reporting, keeping us all informed and challenging the racist ‘gang’ narrative painted by the prosecution and media.
This is not the first and it will not be the last case of collective punishment. We stand with Kids of Colour and JENGbA in calling for the abolition of the Joint Enterprise doctrine and ‘guilt by association’ in all its forms and we back the call for the creation of healing-centered alternatives that create safety in our communities not punishment.
CALL TO ACTION
Join us at the daytime demo in solidarity with the boys and all those found guilty by association on Saturday 28th May 2022 at 1pm, St. Peter’s Sq.
Come to the sentencing on Thursday 30th June at 11am, Manchester Crown Court.
Follow and support Kids of Colour and JENGbA for more information and actions you can take.