Mistaken ID: Black Chili Productions

Mistaken ID

A couple of days ago I watched a film “Mistaken ID – an 11 minute short written and directed by Parmjit Singh. The film is about aggression and violence. Innocence is no protection. The plot is simple but compelling.

Two mixed groups of Asian and Black youths are hanging out after hours at the Stratford shopping mall in East London. One group had stolen a mobile phone and approach the second group trying to force them to buy it. They refuse, testosterone flows, threats are made and one of the good guys pretends he has a gun and there is a situation. We wait knowing this is going to end badly with someone shot or stabbed. The situation is diffused with the thieves backing down and leaving the mall.

The police are outside in their car (2 white one Black in the back) bored listening to a football match. They hear the call on the mobile phone theft and reluctantly leave for the shopping mall. They approach the three good guys assuming they are the thieves. There is confusion from the youths who cannot understand what they have done. The police are aggressive and threatening. The youths try to assert their rights but get handcuffed and repeatedly beaten Rodney King style. First the brother of one youth arrives and also gets arrested then his girlfriend arrives and is pushed away. One youth falls and cracks his head on a stone pillar and is left for dead. We watch and wait for the ambulance and the film ends.

I doubt there are many Black or Asian young men in Britain who have not had a police experience – ranging from harassment, stop and search, verbal abuse, physician abuse, sexual abuse and murder. I am sure there are many mothers who have spent time at the police station, solicitors officers and courts with their sons fighting bogus charges and some of the above abuses. I know I have and know many other mothers and fathers who have. In the film as in real life the potential violence and in many cases actual violence, between youths is a criminal offense. Yet the violence and abuse of power committed by the police is carried out with impunity. We rarely here of these stories, which if you are a member of the communities where these police abuses take place, you know they are a regular occurrence. Far more regular than the “Black on Black” “Youth on Youth” crime that is reported. Far worse because they are committed by the state and the perpetrators are in by far the majority of cases, immune from prosecution.

Mistaken ID is produced by Black Chili Productions