There’s a callout from Bristol Defendant Solidarity (BDS), the local volunteer-run legal support & arrestee support group – for info & witnesses relating to any arrests, and injuries, resulting from the five (so far) Bristol protests against the new #PoliceCrackdownBill aka The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
BDS has been working hard with local Legal Observers, other organisations such as the Black Protest Legal Support and Green & Black Cross, and reliable & road-tested protest specialist Solicitors (primarily HJA & Kelly’s) to support people arrested and/or injured by police brutality at recent #KillTheBill protests. As part of that support work they are also seeking to gather witnesses, to support defendants in future trials and to assist protesters taking legal action against the police after being injured (such as making complaints, suing the police etc). So if you were arrested, or injured, or witnessed either, then get in touch – BDS on 07510 283424 / bristoldefendantsolidarity[at]riseup.net / DM on twitter to @bristoldefenda1 OR injurysupportbristol[at]protonmail.com / DM on twitter to @bristol_injury.
Useful info would include written statements, photos & filmed footage. If you have any such material/info please make contact first before sending anything – whilst BDS can be relied upon to keep your information confidential & secure, the online transfer of materials may in itself not be totally secure, so other arrangements can be made. Note that ultimately, and with your agreement, any such info would be passed to solicitors acting for any defendants or injured persons taking legal action. You should also consider that you may be required to give evidence in Court, particularly in relation to a witness statement – but don’t be put off, that can be discussed in detail with BDS and/or solicitors.
As well as support for people arrested and/or injured, BDS working with local Legal Observers also provides legal info & bustcards on protests. If you are interested in being trained as a local Legal Observer then contact legaltrainingbristol[at]gmail.com and enquire about upcoming training sessions.
There is also a new volunteer group offering ’emotional support resources’ and ‘signposting’ (ie where to go for more help) for anyone affected by police brutality / violence. They can now be contacted via CollectiveCareBristol[at]riseup.net – if you explain your experience & provide contact details they will get back to you!
Finally, whilst all the above groups are volunteer based, the production of info flyers & bustcards, police station support, and the telephone hotline all cost money…and that’s before the cost of court cases, legal fees and such like! As we wrote about in this article, BDS are now running a crowdfunder to support defendants in the very near future court cases & with other costs – please donate here if you can help (payments by card only), any amount is gratefully received! Or if you are able to make a cash donation to help cover transport costs & flyer production etc contact BDS or a volunteer in the group direct. Thanks!