Filmmakers release documentary about black deaths in police custody

Ken Fero - Filmmaker
Ken Fero – Filmmaker (Migrant Media)

published: 23 June 2021

The makers of the controversial film Injustice, which the Police Federation tried to suppress on its release in 2001, will begin screenings of a hard hitting follow up film starting this weekend. Ultraviolence, which was 10 years in the making, revisits the deaths and also reveals shocking new evidence in other cases.

Migrant Media will launch the film at the BFI Southbank on June 26 in a screening that will gather the families of several cases of victims of police violence, particularly of black people, from the last three decades. These include cases of murder and manslaughter. The event will include the announcement of a major initiative by the families of the victims of police violence which is supported by Black Lives Matter, 4WardEverUK, the United Families & Friends Campaign and Migrant Media.

Janet Alder, the sister of Christopher Alder whose death is included in the film said: “I’ve worked with the filmmakers since my brother Christopher’s death on the custody suite floor, with his trousers down and his hands cuffed behind his back. Ultraviolence exposes the hidden issues and the effects on families after suffering suspicious horrendous deaths in the custody of state agents in police stations. Ultraviolence links the deaths and denial of justice with many other injustices in the world which, on a human level, promotes compassion and understanding. An injustice to one is injustice to us all.”

Faiza Mohammed, the cousin of Nuur Saeed whose death is included in the film said: “Nuur was an important person to many people and continues to be. He is in the hearts and prayers of his family and friends. He was a kind, happy and outgoing person with so much to offer the world. Ultraviolence poignantly captures the injustice, pain and hurt that many families like mine experienced. It reminds people of the tragic experiences of those that are no longer with us, and lost their lives at the hands of those that we place the utmost trust in within society. The film highlights significant failings in our system which sadly continue to exist till today.”

Patricia Coker, the mother of Paul Coker whose death is included in the film said: “Paul’s life, like so many others, was sacrificed on the altar of injustice. The cries of our loved ones still reach us from beyond the grave.  Ultraviolence has now become their voice. The deep sense of betrayal by the State will never leave me. One of Paul’s favourite life quotes was by Emerson about leaving the world a better place because you have lived. My sincere hope is that Ultraviolence will be an  educational tool not only for today but for future generations.”

Ken Fero, the director of Ultraviolence, said: “Since 1969, over two thousand people have died after coming into contact with the police in the UK. Shootings, chokeholds, tasers, batons, gassing, suffocation, restraint and brutal beatings are some of the methods used. The numbers of deaths is escalating. Inevitably police officers involved are not convicted for these killings. In this documentary, the families of the victims of police violence demand justice. They ask why society ignores human rights abuses by agents of the state.”

ULTRAVIOLENCE BannerEditorial summary of reviews: This reflection on resistance is poignant and political, capturing the brutality and trauma as well as the unrelenting fightback of those who will not be silent about deaths resulting from state violence.

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