———- Forwarded message ———
From: Lockner TRA <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 2 Aug 2019 at 10:50
Subject: Lockner Estate/Safety concerns
To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Phillip Glanville, Meg Hillier, Dianne Abbott, Cllr Polly Billington, Cllr James Peters
We are writing from the Residents Association on the Lockner Estate to express our concerns over recent events at Yours Locally, our nearest local shop on Kingsland Road. The Lockner Estate is located directly across the road from the Kingsland waste and has 210 properties, we have a strong community and active residents association.
As we are sure you are aware, in 2017 there was an incident following an arrest by a police officer of a 20-year-old black man and Hackney resident, Rashan Charles, which resulted in Mrs Charles’ death. Following his death, the local store has become a space of mourning and anger for members of Mr Charles’ family, friends and extended community.
Outside the Yours Locally store there is a shrine to Mr Charles that is frequently visited and congregated around.
On dates of significant events since; the anniversary of his death, IOPC verdict and his birthday, large groups of mourners gather outside the store. Unfortunately, these have escalated into public displays of violence. In the immediate aftermath of Mr Charles’ death, a group of mourners blocked the traffic across Kingsland Road. Wheelie bins and abandoned mattresses from our estate were set alight and turned into barricades. Windows of local businesses were smashed. And most recently, on the two-year anniversary of his death on 22nd July this year, there was a drive by shooting. This resulted in three people being shot and one stabbed. Lockner residents who had gone to bed were woken to the sound of gunfire and screaming. Participants of the vigil who fled the scene ran into our estate, some banging on doors, the injured dripping blood. The police later raided an address on the estate on the hunt for suspects.
We have several concerns that we would like to highlight and ask for some assistance to see how these concerns may be best addressed.
- Safety. We do not feel safe visiting our much-loved local shop. There are often large numbers of young men around the shrine in the evenings. The atmosphere does not feel like one of remembrance or mourning, but of anger and angst. The people we see there often look restless and intimidating. We do not feel safe living across the road from a site that has seen so much violence, and we are worried and scared that in addition to what has already happened here, there will certainly be more to follow in the future. We do not feel safe knowing that people could be running into our estate, into our homes, fleeing someone with a gun or knife.
- Community. Yours Locally is our local shop, it is much loved by residents on Lockner estate, and relied upon by the community, especially those elderly or disabled residents for which reaching more distant shops proves difficult. Hassan, the owner of Yours Locally, is a wonderful man who we appreciate fondly. The shop is no longer open 24/7 as Hassan does not feel safe to keep it open late at night, it now closes at midnight. Hassan has had to lay off three members of staff for this reason and is feeling the financial consequences deeply. He is feeling unsupported and alone with this, and along with other shops along the Kingsland waste, we want to support them.
- The bigger picture that must not be lost is that young men are dying and rioting and being shot and stabbed across the road from where we live. Although we understand and appreciate that, given the context, a police presence around anniversaries or when large groups congregate around the site would not be the way to manage this situation, we feel that there must be another way that this could be better managed. We can anticipate problems around anniversaries and birthdays.
We would like to extend a hand of friendship and solidarity to members of our local community, particularly Rashan’s immediate friends and family and the wider local black community, who are still mourning the loss of a young man and father. We understand the sensitive nature of the shrine outside the Yours Locally store, and that on a daily basis Rashan’s community live with the ongoing trauma of his death and take comfort in mourning at this site.
We are hopeful for a solution to de-escalate the feelings of tension we are experiencing as local residents. We do not profess to have the immediate answers to this problem, but would like to work with local agencies and community groups to reduce the feelings of malcontent and friction that we are experiencing. We would like to feel confident and safe about going to the shop across the road for a pint of milk again, and we do not want to feel nervous about people fleeing gunmen banging onto our doors as we put out children to bed.
We are writing to ask for a meeting to discuss this further, to see how future incidents and violence can be avoided. We believe there are professionals who have expertise and knowledge in this field who could guide us to a resolution, and we are asking for your help and guidance to engage with them.
Lisa Linpower on behalf of the Lockner Residents Association