Ultraviolence: Three questions with Ken Fero

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Ken Fero’s documentary ‘Ultraviolence’ showcases the untold stories of police killings, the sufferings of those held in police custody and the tragic aftermath for victims and their families left behind.

Last month, Director Ken Fero joined the Department for Global Justice and Sociology to present a screening of his work ‘Ultraviolence’ sharing insights through a live Q&A session with staff, students and members of the public.  

What are you here to talk about?

We’re raising awareness for the tragic cases of those who lost their lives in police custody showcasing the action we’re taking as the People’s Tribunal to highlight these issues in the UK, as well as globally. 

Since the George Floyd murder in 2020, more people have become aware of police violence, which has only increased with recent convictions of rape and violence against women making the news. However, some of the stories are not commonly known to the public. The documentary and event at Goldsmiths presented an opportunity to address these issues and how we can change how people are treated whilst in police custody.

Why is it important for us to be talking about this?

We want to change the society we live in – that's why it’s important for us to be talking about this. Unfortunately, the Government and even the public aren’t always comfortable talking about these issues but it’s an important topic, one which questions the fundamentals of Human Rights. It seems people can accept police behaviour for the sake of their own security, and we need to address this further.

There are families who are still suffering. We have fatalities that are not recognised as victims and institutions, such as the media and legal systems which refuse to investigate these cases.

Why is this important to the Goldsmiths community?

Young people of today are much more politicised than previous generations, which we can see in the development of recent demonstrations and movements. We’re very interested in students and academics across Goldsmiths getting on board with this issue. Some of the reported cases are not far from Goldsmiths or the local area, such as Paul Coker from South London or Brian Douglas who was killed in Clapham.
Our goal is to bring people together and listen to the stories of these families to drive real change. The takeaway from the event should be about learning and listening to these cases and seeing what can be done in the future to stop further police killings.