Sunday, June 28, 2009

Declan assaulted in the local internet café

Yesterday evening Declan once again took a trip to a police station, this time to Limehouse PS which is the nearest one to our local internet café off Whitechapel Road.

He went in the middle of one of these summer storms and had to wait for almost an hour to talk with an officer, but he wasn’t deterred: the internet café in question is the only place around in which I can install a program so I can upload pages to the NAC website – I should be able to log in to my SiteGround account with my username and password but I am blocked from doing so (see blog of 9 May “SiteGround confirms our website has been hacked”).

This particular bloke is well known to Declan, and we are pretty sure from his drinking on computers that he is a resident of the Salvation Army’s Booth House hostel for homeless men, located around the corner from the internet café (and across the road from the huge East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre). Declan has also submitted a written complaint to the manager of the internet café against the guy for racially aggravated harassment just hours before we had a major run in with police at our sleeping pitch (see blog of 17 June “More police intimidation at the place we sleep, Salters”; for two Google map photos of where we sleep see blog of 5 June “Salters back in the spotlight”).

As Declan told the officer who took the report, he is sick and tired of homeless who seem to think that when it comes to us they have some sort of carte blanche to say and do pretty much what they like: Declan has been assaulted in the middle of the night in a winter shelter run by the West London Churches, crime reference no. 6002035-07 (see here); we have both been assaulted in the Methodist Church-run Whitechapel Mission (see here for Declan, crime reference no. 4204886/07; and for me here, crime reference no. 4217341/07); we have been robbed of all our money and documents in the Catholic Sisters of Mercy Dellow Day Centre, crime reference no. 4215697/08 (see here); Declan has been further assaulted in the Catholic Manna Day Centre, crime reference no. 3021917/08 (see here) and the Dellow Centre, crime reference no. 4204029/09 (see here); and Declan has even had a homeless arrested for a threat to kill, crime reference no. 7221/07 (see blog of 8 September 2007 “Application to the European Court of Human Rights” para. 30).

Not one of these cases has resulted in a prosecution. And it’s not just because there never seems to be any witnesses. The robbery of all our money and documents, for example, was struck out due to the police being unable to obtain any CCTV footage whatsoever from the Dellow Centre (see here). Then there is Declan’s case against one homeless man, against whom he has three crime reference numbers, which was struck out due to the police being unable to obtain the identity of the suspect from the Dellow Centre even though they do know his details (see here). In fact, since 10 April last year, Declan has been washing in the street as a result of harassment and intimidation by homeless people in the Dellow Centre and Manna Centre, the only two day centres available to us since our barring two years ago from the Whitechapel Mission due to concerns about our safety (see blog of 14 May of “Letter to Archbishop Vincent Nichols”).

So now Declan has yet another crime reference number to add to his bourgeoning collection, 4215223/09 for common assault (caught on CCTV). This is the chronology Declan handed to police last night:


(1) 16 JUNE | 4.30-4.45pm the customer of the Internet cafe ("the customer") is continually abusive towards me, seemingly drunk; I am the only other person on an upstairs computer and regrettably did not write down actual words shouted across the floor at me. | 4.45pm I report the abuse to a member of staff downstairs who then requests of the customer where he sits that he quieten down. | 4.45-4.50pm the customer continues his tirade in abusive outbursts ("you have no fuckin' manners", "you are an Irish grass", etc). I do not know how the customer knows that I am Irish, but I suspect he is homeless and resides in the Salvation Army Booth House, a hostel for homeless people across the road. | 4.50-5.10pm I sit downstairs waiting for a computer to come free - impossible to work upstairs in the sole company of the customer. The member of staff requests from me a written complaint that he will present to the Manager. The member of staff informs me that the customer has already been barred for drunken behaviour, but was readmitted by the manager following his plea and promise of good behaviour. | 5.10pm I leave the internet cafe, no computer having come free. I read to the member of staff my "Chronology (1)" before leaving and inform him that I will drop a copy to him on my return. | 6.00pm I hand the member of staff "Chronology (1)", as requested.

(2) 27 JUNE | 5.05pm the customer vacates his computer at the same time as I make my way downstairs to pay for an extra three hours. As soon as I turn to go back upstairs, he proceeds to come down. Sensing trouble, I wait for him to pass. Rather than walk straight out the door or around me to the counter (which would have been no trouble at all), he comes straight at me, hitting my right shoulder with his right shoulder to move me out of the way of his chosen direct route to the counter. He makes some quick comment to the member of staff and leaves. I comment to the member of staff that this guy has just assaulted me with a shoulder charge, to which the member of staff replies that he has no idea what this guy's problem is. | 5.30pm I hand the member of staff a copy of "Chronology (2)", as previously requested. I ask for the address of the local police station, to drop them a copy of this chronology.

[5.45pm on leaving the internet café, the member of staff presents me with a business card for Limehouse police station, and confirms that the assault would have been caught on CCTV.]