Gulusen, a 36 year old Turkish man from East Belfast,
has contacted the Anti Racism Network and reported
that he was assaulted and racially abused by a number
of PSNI Officers in Belfast City Centre in front
of witnesses last Saturday (27th November 2004).
Gulusen is a well known face to anyone who shops
regularly on Royal Avenue in Belfast. He has been
a stallholder there for seven years. Originally
from Turkey, Musa settled here 12 years ago and
has a family here. Last Saturday there was a PSNI
operation against unlicensed stallholders in Belfast
City centre. Musa says that during this operation
he was severely assaulted and racially abused by
the PSNI officers taking part in the operation.
says "a police officer grabbed me by the throat
and he shoved me up against a wall. I was protesting
and asking him why are you holding me. I was trying
to tell him that I had made my application for a
license to Belfast City Council. I told him the
name of the person in the Council who is dealing
with it. He wasn't listening. He hit me in the face
with the back part of his hand.
other officers came over. They forced me to the
ground. They grabbed my arms up behind my back.
I was yelling and yelling how sore my arm was but
they were not listening. They kept pulling and my
arm was in real pain. There was blood on the ground.
They then half dragged me across the ground to the
Land Rover and put me inside. In the Land Rover
the policeman who had hit me in the face asked me
my name. I said that I was in pain that I would
not tell him my name as he had hit me. Other police
got into the Land Rover. One of them appeared to
be senior - like an inspector. He looked me straight
in the face and said "Hey Kebab boy".
All the other police in the Land Rover started laughing
really hard. They just kept laughing. There were
four of them. I was thinking I am 36 years old.
I have lived here for twelve years, I have a British
passport and they see me as if I was an animal.
It was the same as if he had said to me "Hey
have never done anything to deserve that. I have
lived here a long time. It doesn't matter where
you come from. I have never done anything bad. They
were all laughing at me as if I wasn't human".
was eventually hospitalised where it was discovered
that his arm had been broken. He also had severe
bruising to his back and facial injuries.
ARN has also spoken to one of the witnesses, another
stallholder, Gerard Stitt. Gerard told the ARN "Musa
was actually walking away when the police grabbed
him with their batons drawn..... When they were
dragging him to the landrover he was screaming to
them "my arm, my arm". I heard one of
them saying to him "you're not such a big fella
now are you"? I have seen plenty of raids on
stalls in my 5 years doing them but I have never
seen anything like this. They usually just take
the stuff and take your name. This was beyond excessive
force. This was disgraceful".
week after the event, Musa Gulusen's face is swollen.
His left eye is still severely bruised and swollen
and his broken arm is in a sling. He told the Anti
Racism Network that he was upset and angry by what
had happened and that so were friends of his and
"local people" who had witnessed the assault.
ARN is calling for a full investigation into the
actions of PSNI officers who were involved in the
operation. Barbara Muldoon of the Network says "Of
all the racist attacks reported in Northern Ireland
over the last number of years this is without doubt
the most serious. We were told of this assault the
very day after John Spellar was commending the PSNI
for a reduction in the figures for racist attacks
in the last six months. The ARN have been concerned
for some time that the PSNI figures do not truly
represent the real level of attacks". Ms Muldoon,
who works for P Drinan Solicitor's Office, an office
where at least 30% of the clients that they
see are from the minority ethnic community, says
that most people who are attacked do not report
it. "There is a lack of confidence in the PSNI
due to the very small 'clear up' rate for racist
for a full investigation into the matter she added
- "The bitterness of what happened Rodney King
in America or Stephen Lawrence in London will never
go away. Not just because of what happened - but
also because of the very lengthy battles to have
what happened properly investigated. A member of
our community has been subjected to a serious assault
and appalling racist abuse by the very force who
society tasks to solve racist attacks. There are
witnesses to confirm what happened. The assault
took place in an area where there are numerous CCTV
cameras. This news will undoutedly make international
headlines. What is required here is a full independent
inquiry into the actions of the PSNI in Belfast
City Centre last Saturday".