I lived in South Africa during apartheid.
Don't get me started about police brutality.
If we had cameras on us as often then as we do now, you bet the National Party would have made taking a photograph while black a schedule one offense.
The police arrested me for trespass (possession of long hair) when I was sixteen. They put me in the back of a van with sharp metal edges, then drove over a set of speedbumps at great speed. Said they would f*~! me up. Asked if I smoke dope with my kaffir buddies, then whipped my feetsoles with a cane till they were so swollen I could not wear shoes. This happened on the day the Berlin wall fell.
My friend Michael Fitzgerald was arrested for marijuana possession in 1990. The police burned his palms with cigarettes for no reason except they were bored. There was no interrogation or confrontation. He was seventeen.
I saw three policemen slam a black boys legs in the door of a van seven or eight times, breaking bones. He had run from them.
Now English police are wonderful on the whole. I used to sleep in police stations while I was hitchhiking through Europe in 1993. I heard some pretty chilling accounts in Bristol and Brixton of police misconduct. (The only time I was arrested in the U.K was for sabotaging the fox hunt, and the police gave us huddling protesters a thermos of hot sugary tea for the back of the black maria. A policewoman said "Bad luck lads. Foxes don't vote.")
The french Gendarmes emptied my backpack onto the ground on the road from Belgium into France, and walked on my clothes and books, trampling them. They assumed I was a dope smuggler because it is a straight shot through to Holland.
More supervision of these moments would have been a wonderful thing.
Quo custodiet ipsos custodes?