Outcry over Yemeni leader’s
by Rob Smith
The arrest of Abdul Shaif, Chair of
the Yemeni Community Association and highly respected Burngreave
activist, has caused uproar in the Burngreave community.
He was arrested in Meadowhall on 2nd February
at 6.30pm whilst trying to calm a confrontation between Security
Guards and some young Asian and Black people. By the time
the police arrived the situation was being defused. Mr Shaif
was the only person arrested. He was taken to Attercliffe
Police Station and charged with ‘verbal abuse against
a police officer’ to which he is pleading not guilty.
Video footage has been released to Mr Shaif’s
lawyers by Meadowhall, who have lifted the ban placed on him
after the incident. Although there has been enormous pressure
from the community to drop the charges, the Police have not
yet done so. The case will be heard on 25th March at Sheffield
Residents raise concerns about racism
At an emergency meeting, over one hundred
residents and representatives of our city’s Black and
diverse communities showed their anger and disbelief at the
arrest and the alleged use of racist language towards Mr Shaif.
“Although we can’t talk about the
details of this case it is unacceptable that people are still
being treated in this way,” said Cllr Drayton, also
referring to the recent BBC documentary film about the racism
of new police recruits.
“Any complaint of a racial nature against
our officers will be dealt with properly,” Superintendent
John Brennan told the meeting, adding his duty not to speak
or add anything that would prejudice the case. He also said
that his Commander, as well as Home Secretary David Blunkett,
were concerned and wanted to know the immediate outcome of
“If the full community knew what had happened
then Don Valley Stadium would not be big enough to hold the
crowd,” suggested someone to humungous applause. “You
need to stop the lip service. We see a man who places himself
before the community, finding himself locked up in a cell
for attempting to defuse a situation.”
Young men spoke of the injustices and racist
abuse they often receive from white officers that went unheard
and unchallenged on a regular basis.
Seaton Gosling, out-going Chair of the Black
Community Forum, stated that as a community we need to see
action being taken on this issue that has always affected
the Black and diverse communities in which we live.
Leroy Wenham, North Area Assistant Director
for Sheffield Futures, told the meeting that back in 1981
he was convicted of ‘obstructing the highway’,
as a result of attempting to defuse trouble in the city centre.
The conviction was overturned on appeal, but Mr Wenham still
had to pay his legal costs.
The final call of the meeting was for the officer
accused of perpetrating racist behaviour to be removed from
duty until the trial, complaints and internal investigations