It may sound weird to some, but I know why men particularly under the age of 35 (Britain’s biggest killer of this age group) take their own lives. My ordeals with the Metropolitan Police are well-documented, and it is because of these that I too have had idealisations and there’s no shame in admitting this.
Alice was taken aback that I was so content with any decision I make about my life, resolute in fact.
I never brought up the conversation because I would be seeking no ones approval, but her face told me what she could see in mine – the emptiness. I’ve never self-harmed as I think I’m too much of a coward for that, but it would be disingenuous of me to not say that when you are continually pushed into a corner those dark thoughts of not being here do not take hold of you to the point that pushes you over. Maybe, that has been their goal.
Alice too made the point that, things often only change in the world when those who brought about the change (not intentionally) are no longer here. How true, and how very wise for her years I said. There are many people I can think of like the young lad Michael Shepard who was beaten to death this same week in 1998 in the US for just being gay. It was only after his murder, that people of all sexualities started to say ‘enough was enough’.
I try not to mince my words and have no ‘poor me’ banners I can pull out, but I would be lying if I said the Met Police wasn’t a ruthless organisation when it wanted to be. I really don’t say this lightly. The scary thing being is that I was ‘one of them’ too, so what hope has the ordinary person on the street got even if you’re not black and/or gay?
The battles I have written about for the past three years, continue to this day. In January there is another three-week tribunal and in March another one too, to do with the past ones. The first of 2014, is my challenging the Commissioner for dismissing me and saying that I Undermined the Police Service and Discredited it. Bit rich.
Serious charges, which resulted in an instant behind closed doors dismissal for me. That dream, cancelled.
Currently too, I am being passed from pillar-to-post by doctors to see what harm the Met’s treatment of me to date may have caused – the discrimination, harassment, victimisation and the leaking of my private data to The Sun.
I always said that it was beyond the London Police Commissioner to take my complaints of racism and homophobia seriously, and it was for this reason I looked to the courts to independently and professionally look at my claims of discrimination and the police’s response to them. I relied on the British Judicial System.
I tweeted yesterday that I was hating life at the moment and it’s true, I do.
The thoughts go through my mind that I was somebody who from a young age always wanted to be a Police Officer, yet they never accepted me. Where’s the equality of opportunity here? I join that dream job in my early twenties and did experience racism and homophobia in each of my seven years with Greater Manchester Police, so moved to London for a fresh start. The rest as they say is history.
This isn’t just the bad luck or ‘issue’ with one officer, I know of many. Many whom are too scared to speak out.
I’m the WARNING about what will happen to you, if you do.
That’s why minority officers who suffer, don’t challenge discrimination? Because, they would have lasted as long as I did after raising it – not very long. Some too don’t want to stand up to it, for their own reasons.
Unless you’ve served in the Force (and it is a force not to be messed with), it is pretty hard to put into words how you yourself become part of that institutionalism and accept ‘everything’ about it – good and bad. No one wants to be the isolated officer, the one nobody likes or talks to on shift. So, you join in with the others and get on with the job even if your race and sexuality is berated on a sometimes daily basis by the main white straight majority.
You sort of live in a bubble of self-protection, where you acquiesce to things. Big tough cop remember.
My thoughts of suicide are not because I couldn’t cope in the police or was a wuss, but I guess because there comes a point when you just don’t give a damn anymore. That’s the reality. My GMP files show that for the first seven years of my policing career, I did my job without fear or favour. I couldn’t walk on water, but I’d had no disciplinary, no performance issues and had not even taken one day off sick in all that time (2001 to 2008) – even though like many officers, I was spat at, kicked, punched and even threatened with a knife all in the course of those duties. Sometimes by guys, twice the size of me. But, I could handle all that – I knew what I was signing up for.
I didn’t I guess, of the hate within.
As a gay black man, I was okay risking my life sometimes for Queen and Country but I dared to challenge my colleagues when they belittled my race and sexuality. Two things I couldn’t change, even if I wanted to.
There are many good cops out there, I know that. But equally, there are bad ones too.
We often talk about that bad apple, that renegade officer, but in my experience it is only a matter of time before the good apples become infected by the bad. How do we keep the good, good?
After I became unwell, I honestly thought that my experiences would be resolved in a matter of time and you know move on with my life and my career – looking forward, as I always strived to do. But, that wasn’t enough for them.
To protect their reputation, they had to pass my private life to The Sun newspaper not only endangering me as a counter terrorism detective but outing me with a mental illness and my sexuality in such a national public way.
A humiliating and deliberate act. A vicious one at best.
To rub salt in the wounds, they told the paper I wanted thousands upon thousands of pounds too. Like, they had painted others in the past whom had challenged racism and homophobia. The problem for the Met though, they messed with the wrong officer and I don’t mean this in an arrogant way.
I was fortunate enough to have been raised by a loving white mother, who always taught me the difference between right and wrong for as long as I can remember. Even when I used to have those pointless arguments with my first long-term boyfriend as you do over the minor of life things, she’d be the first to tell me to apologise when I was wrong. I did, even if through gritted teeth.
She was loving, but wise too. Even as my ambassador in life, she didn’t just side with me because I was her son.
I knew what was going on in the police with regards to racism, homophobia and other practices, went against many decent peoples’ values and should never have been acceptable and were wrong. At some point, my principles got the better of me. The police knew I would tell the truth, I couldn’t help it and it is for this reason only they came after me so hard. Their own documents show this, but they had to argue at court I wasn’t.
I guess, that’s understandable.
I lost my mind, my career, my home and my husband and why? I’m yet to find anyone who can give me an answer to this, about what I did so bad? Maybe, there isn’t one.
When the Commissioner charged me last year with two offences of Gross Misconduct, I knew he was getting desperate. When he put someone like me whom had served his country in one way or another since the age of 10 (through the cadets Forces) into the same class as the officer involved in the death of Ian Tomlinson, I knew it was personal. It was an act of revenge.
Even my Police Federation union turned on me, not because I was a bad guy but because everyone saw me as a ‘danger’ to their own positions and public standing. Because, there was a danger that the people like my mother and of her generation might just see that all has not been right. They couldn’t allow that.
The case of the British Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell who had to resign from the UK Government over a spat with the police, as it now transpires has shown that there are some things in the service that need to be eradicated. In Britain, we still live in a democracy where the rule of law exists to protect us and keep us in check.
This rule of law is there for police officers too, as no one is above it.
To this day, I don’t know honestly why I haven’t taken that last step with suicide. I really don’t.
Maybe, because that takes real guts.
My counsellor once said to me that my experiences would have finished many off a long time ago, but some how I’ve battled on. Have I? I do know the past four years have damaged me, and maybe I’ll never recover.
It’s not like I’m getting a kick out of it too, I just don’t like bullies. In fact, I detest them.
I can’t backdown, because everything I have lost will have all been for nothing. There has to be accountability.
My dispute with Scotland Yard I knew was going to come at a price. You cannot just go around saying that Britain’s Counter Terrorism Command are racist, homophobic and/or corrupt, with no consequences. None, at all.
The full facts of my case that do not come under employment law, are not even in the public domain. That’s why, the police have threatened me with the Official Secrets Act. My arrest they’d hope, would put doubt in the public mind as to my integrity. Some of my former colleagues would probably love it, to just have the pleasure in taking away my last liberty – you know, so they can say LOOK … “no smoke without fire” and the rest.
Unfortunately for them though, I don’t dance. I’m too old and too fat, to want to do so.
What ever the future holds for me, I do know that any decision I take will be mine and mine alone.
Those whom have taken their own life, have done so knowing that there is no return. A sad, but brave act.
I often say to people that ironically social media saved my life, as without it I would never have been able to challenge as I have the police with their conduct in a way that they couldn’t brush it under the carpet and silence me. I hadn’t the resources of public funds like them, the PR and so forth. It was just me, my Facebook, Twitter and blog.
I may have won a few battles, but the Met whatever the outcome won the war.
Whilst I live in a hostel separated from the man I loved and on the verge of a divorce and drawing State benefits, those who subjected me to racism and homophobia continue to draw their salaries and live in their homes with their families oblivious to the harm they have caused. I don’t wish them any ill, but where’s the justice in this?
I do wonder if the Commissioner sleeps as comfortable as I do at night?