We need to challenge authorities over killing of Mohammed Yasser Yaqub

Mohammed Yasser Yaqub, 28

Maz Saleem is the daughter of Mohammed Saleem who was murdered by the white supremacist Pavlo Lapshyn. You can follow her on Twitter @CampaignerMaz

Maz Saleem
says she has no faith in the police or media investigation into the killing of Mohammed Yasser Yaqub on Monday, and that the public needs to pressure the authorities into providing genuine answers.

A New Year and a new police killing. A 28 year old married father of two was shot dead by police on Monday night in what seems to be a premeditated planned operation by West Yorkshire Police. Officers bought an Audi car to a halt at a slip road on the busy M62 motorway in Huddersfield. Mohammed Yasser Yaqub was shot dead through his windscreen.

This is truly a horrific incident and no matter what Yaqub has been accused of nobody has the right to take away a life.  It seems as though it is fine for those in power to kill people on our streets. I want to know why the armed officers involved in the shooting were not wearing body cameras. After all this appeared to be a well thought-out operation.

Mohammed Yasser Yaqub was shot dead without any warning, arrest or trial. Yet the trashy tabloid frenzy has begun to demonise and character assassinate him without any evidence, apart from the small amount West Yorkshire Police have given out so voluntarily.

Media sensationalism

Sensationalised media headlines into Mohammed’s death accusing him of being a “major drugs baron” feels like a trial is taking place now actively in the media. A trial in which he is already been found guilty, in which he has had no fair representation or voice. Because he has been shot dead by West Yorkshire Police.

How can a dead man defend himself? We hear the same old story that the “victim was to blame” and he was “armed” and “dangerous.” Many will feel that there will be a massive cover-up and will doubt if the Independent Police Complaints Commission will be investigating this case with integrity or honesty. The IPCC itself is made up of ex-police officers.

This killing brings back echoes of Mark Duggan’s case where his character was assassinated by the media. He was a gangster; he had a gun; the police shot him and there’s nothing to see here; move along. The IPCC at the time of Duggan’s death briefed by the police told the media that Duggan had fired at police officers. He hadn’t. Mark Duggan’s case also tells a story of police failings, from the outset to this present day.

The media at the time of Duggan’s death made an uproar about the gun, which was allegedly thrown by Duggan from the car in the moments before he was fatally shot twice by police. Despite the fact that two witnesses who testified said they saw police remove a gun from the cab before Duggan was shot. Many believe the gun was planted. The inconsistencies in the police account showed their version of events to be inconceivable and scandalous.

No justice, no peace

Whatever Mohammed Yasser Yaqub was the police cannot take life; even in error there is absolutely no justification for his death whether he had a firearm or not. Who do you believe?

Our very own “democratic” government which upholds British values allows such killings on our streets. Over several decades in Britain hundreds of people have lost their lives at the hands of the police, but never have we seen any officers face the very laws they are supposed to implement. As with Mark Duggan there will be no justice.

Injustice requires those who are killed to go quietly into the night and be stripped of their humanity and dignity. The state and all its agencies provide cheap excuses, they dismiss the pain of the family and have no sympathy for the life they have taken. Their voice maybe silent but we can speak up for them. Over 300 protested after Mohammed’s death to demand answers, not lies.

Injustice thrives when we fail to speak up. We need to continue to challenge the powers that killed Mohammed Yasser Yaqub on our streets. This will be a long struggle but today it’s him and tomorrow it could be you. No justice, no peace.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect those of 5Pillars.

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