My Mother In-Law, Joy Gardner, Was Killed by the British Police, and … – NewsBreak Original

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I moved to Tottenham, North London, in 2007, and I met my son's father the same year. At that time, I discovered that my son's father was the son of Joy Gardner, the woman who was brutally murdered by the British police in North London in 1993.
At five years old, he witnessed his mother's gruesome death at the hands of the British police. When I think about it, it sends chills through my whole body, it sickens me, not only was my son's father ruthlessly denied a fulfilling and memorable life with his mother, my son will never get to meet his grandmother.
Feelings of anger and disgust resurfaced when I read the story of George Floyd, murdered by Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020. The whole #BlackLivesMatter movement, is it deterring police from mercilessly killing black people on the streets or in their homes? No! It is still happening.
Mrs. Joy Angelina Gardner was a Jamaican mother of two; she was 40 years old when the police deliberately took her life on the floor of her home in Crouch End, North London, United Kingdom.
Mrs. Gardner, my son's grandmother, died when she was restrained with handcuffs and leather straps and gagged with a 13-foot length of adhesive tape wrapped around her head. Unable to breathe, she suffered irreparable brain damage due to asphyxia.
She was placed on life support but died following a cardiac arrest four days later. Her death sparked riots in Tottenham, North London, and the effects of this despicable killing still run through the very fabric of the North London town.
Three of the officers involved stood trial for manslaughter (should have been murder). They were acquitted. The detectives involved were Detective John Burrell, Detective Constable Colin Whitby, and Detective Seargent Linda Evans.
In 2008, I moved to Crouch End, streets away from where Mrs. Gardner was murdered, I had no idea until my son's father told me. I moved out within weeks, and the thought of being so close to such a terrible crime sickened me; it still sickens me to this day.
Mrs. Gardener would have been my mother-in-law, and maybe I would have still been in a relationship with my son’s father if she were still alive. Who knows—maybe her influence would have changed the cause of events that led to our breakup?
These are all just "what ifs," and nothing can change the fact that she was killed in such a ruthless and despicable manner. Nothing can change the fact that my son will never get to meet his grandmother, nothing can change the fact that my son asks questions about his grandmother all the time; and her son, now in his 30s, is still grieving the senseless death of his beautiful mother because justice has not been served.
They said she was a violent woman, they said she was the most aggressive woman they had ever come into contact with, they said they had no choice, and they feared for their lives. Her son was in the house, what kind of monsters would do this?
These were not thieves who came to search the house for gold, money, or gadgets; they were not drug barons coming to seek revenge; these were officers of the law who are supposed to protect us from harm.
Instead, they were the ones who entered the home of a 40-year-old woman with the intent to deport her and instead carried her out dead, not breathing. She was put on a life support machine, but they knew she was already gone.
Mrs. Joy was born Joy Burke in Long Bay, Jamaica, in May 1953. Her mother, my son's great grandmother, moved to the UK in 1961 to create stability for her family.
She planned to send for Joy when she was settled, which was common practice at the time. However, new immigration laws were passed in 1981, which meant that Joy would not automatically gain British citizenship through her mother.
Joy's brother, uncles, and aunts lived in the UK at the time. Joy initially visited the UK in 1987; at this time, she left her daughter behind in Jamaica. She entered the country on a 6-month working visa and subsequently overstayed.
Upon her arrival, she was pregnant with my son's father and gave birth to him in October 1987. In 1990, she married John Gardner, a UK citizen, and he applied for permanent residence for her to stay in the UK. Some weeks later, the marriage broke down, and he withdrew the Home Office Request.
Joy was issued a deportation order in 1990, but she subsequently appealed to stay in the country. During the appeals process, she was asked to report to the local police station regularly, which she did.
A deportation order was issued in the summer of 1992, but she didn't attend the airport and stated that she didn't receive the order. She had kept in contact with the police and her mother's local MP Bernie Grant at the time. In Summer 1993, she enrolled to study Media Studies at London Guildhall University. At the time she was living in Crouch end, North London.
On July 28, 1993, the police raided her home. At this time, fresh deportation orders had not been issued because, as stated by Charles Wardle, the immigration minister at the time, the deportation order/notification was timed to be sent out after the raid to prevent further appeals.
The squad that was deployed on that haunting day was tasked with accompanying a special immigration task force that had no power of arrest.
The team included a Detective Inspector, a Detective Seargent, and seven Detective Constables. The squad worked in groups of three, and two of the officers were tasked with accompanying the deportees on their flights.
At 7:40 am on July 28, 1993, three officers from the Aliens Deportation Group, two officers from a local police station, and an official from the UK Immigration Service raided my son’s grandmother’s home with an order to detain and remove her and my son’s father from the UK, and return them to Jamaica.
They beat her, kneeled on her, taped her face, kicked her, stamped on her head, and used chairs to strike her body and excessive force to hold her down in front of her 5-year-old son, the father of my 12-year old son.
They came with a restraining belt, with attached handcuffs, leather straps, and rolls of adhesive tape. My son’s beautiful grandmother was gagged and beaten and suffered respiratory failure, she was taken to hospital, but to my understanding, she was already dead. She was placed on life support, but it was already too late.
In 2011, Mark Duggan was also mercilessly killed by the UK police in Tottenham; it sparked widespread riots across the UK.
In 2012, I attended a televised conference and film screening in Tottenham, where my son's father and grandmother were center stage. The film Justice for Joy, directed by lecturer Dr. Ken Fero, which examined the death of Joy, was screened in front of hundreds of Londoners and the families of those also murdered by the police in Britain.
I sat there with my son, who pointed with confusion in his eyes when he saw his father as a young boy on the screen. He said:
I had to explain to him that it was his father when he was younger; by this time, he had already gained some knowledge of the fact that his grandmother had been killed. He heard faint whispers and asked questions about pictures on the wall at his father's house.
Generational trauma is real because my son still struggles with the trauma associated with this senseless killing. He asks questions, and he feels the deep and unimaginable pain that his father and great grandmother feel.
My son fears for my life and repeatedly tells me to avoid the police at all costs. One of the reasons I packed up and left the UK was fear.
Fear of being racially attacked and fear for my son, my beautiful boy.
The despicable killing of my son's grandmother, Joy Gardner, haunts me, and it should haunt everybody; the pain should be felt, the tears should fall, the protests should continue, the articles and books should be written, the films should be produced, and the fight should continue until justice is served and until these unimaginable killings stop happening. Will they ever stop?
It's comfortable to sit in your homes and watch the chaos on television, or scroll through images, videos, and captions on social media, but what action are you taking to prompt and provoke justice? To stop this evil? This is not OK, and it will never be OK.
Wives, sisters, daughters, friends, brothers, fathers, uncles, and sons are being ripped away from us, and it’s nothing new; that's the sad thing about it.
For all those who have mercilessly lost their lives at the hands of police officers who claim to protect and serve, I pray for your peace; I pray for your families, I stand by you in fighting this injustice, I stand by you in shouting as loud as I can; I stand by you.
Black Lives Matter started off as a hashtag, Let’s live it, breathe it, and fight for it until the day our lungs give out.

Professional online writer, digital entrepreneur and SEO expert.
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