Socialist Worker

‘Dehumanised’ by racist system

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2711

Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman were murdered earlier this month.

Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman were murdered earlier this month Credit: PA


A mother of two women who were murdered says revelations of cops’ misconduct “speaks volumes of the ethos” that runs through the Metropolitan police force.

Two sisters, Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, were stabbed to death at a park in Wembley, west London, earlier this month. 

Mina Smallman, their mother and the former Archdeacon of Southend, complained about the Met’s response and organised her own search after they went missing. 

Two police officers have now been suspended amid allegations that they took selfies with the bodies of the black women.

Mina said the pictures “dehumanised” Nicole and Bibaa and took “our grief to another place”.

“They were nothing to them and what’s worse, they sent them on to members of the public,” she told the BBC. 

“If ever we needed an example of how toxic it has become, those police officers felt so safe, so untouchable, that they felt they could take photographs of dead black girls and send them on.

“It speaks volumes of the ethos that runs through the Metropolitan Police.”

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said the pictures were allegedly “shared with a small number of others”.

The police’s pet ­watchdog added the Met was ­“handling matters involving ­members of the public who may have received those images”. The IOPC is also investigating how the Met dealt with calls from worried family and friends of the sisters after they went missing.

Park

Nicole and other friends had been celebrating Bibaa’s birthday at the park on the evening of 5 June. 

Police believe they were killed by a stranger, through repeated stabbing, in the early hours of 6 June. 

The sisters’ bodies were only found the following day.

Mina says the police were slow to respond when the sisters were reported missing. 

She had to coordinate a search mission on the ­weekend that her daughters died.

Nicole’s boyfriend, Adam, found the bodies and the murder weapon.

The response to the Wembley Park ­murders show how institutional racism runs through the British police and society. 

Mina said the police were “making assumptions” and that she “knew instantly why they didn’t care”.

“They didn’t care because they looked at my daughter’s address and thought they knew who she was,” she said. “A black woman who lives on a council estate.”


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