Archive for September, 2016


Monday, September 26th, 2016

What follows is the text of a “sermon” that I gave as a “congregational reflection” to an all White audience at the Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ on Sunday, June 28th. The sermon was begun with a reading of The Good Samaritan story, and this wonderful quote from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah.

Credit for this speech goes to Chaédria LaBouvier, whose “Why We Left” inspired me to speak out about racism; to Robin DiAngelo, whose “White Fragility” gave me an understanding of the topic; and to Reni Eddo-Lodge who said “Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race” long before I had the courage to start doing it again.

couple weeks ago, I was debating what I was going to talk about in this sermon. I told Pastor Kelly Ryan I had great reservations talking about the one topic that I think about every single day.

Then, a terrorist massacred nine innocent people in a church that I went to, in a city that I still think of as home. At that point, I knew that despite any misgivings, I needed to talk about race.

You see, I don’t talk about race with White people.

To illustrate why, I’ll tell a story:

It was probably about 15 years ago when a conversation took place between my aunt, who is White and lives in New York State, and my sister, who is Black and lives in North Carolina. This conversation can be distilled to a single sentence, said by my Black sister:

“The only difference between people in the North and people in the South is that down here, at least people are honest about being racist.”

There was a lot more to that conversation, obviously, but I suggest that it can be distilled into that one sentence because it has been, by my White aunt. Over a decade later, this sentence is still what she talks about. It has become the single most important aspect of my aunt’s relationship with my Black family. She is still hurt by the suggestion that people in New York, that she, a northerner, a liberal, a good person who has Black family members, is a racist.

This perfectly illustrates why I don’t talk about race with White people. Even — or rather, especially — my own family.

love my aunt. She’s actually my favorite aunt, and believe me,
I have a lot of awesome aunts
to choose from. But the facts
are actually quite in my sister’s favor on this one.

New York State is one of the most segregated states in the country. Buffalo, New York, where my aunt lives, is one of the 10 most segregated school systems in the country. The racial inequality of the area she inhabits is so bad that it has been the subject of reports by the Civil Rights Action Network and the NAACP.

Those, however, are facts that my aunt does not need to know. She does
not need to live with the racial segregation and oppression of her home.
As a white person with upward mobility, she has continued to improve
her situation. She moved out of the area I grew up in– she moved to an
area with better schools. She doesn’t have to experience racism, and so
it is not real to her.

Nor does it dawn on her that the very fact that she moved away from an increasingly Black neighborhood to live in a White suburb might itself be an aspect of racism. She doesn’t need to realize that “better schools” exclusively means “whiter schools.”

I don’t talk about race with White people because I have so often seen it go nowhere. When I was younger, I thought it was because all white people are racist. Recently, I’ve begun to understand that it’s more nuanced than that.

understand, you have to know
that Black people think in terms
of Black people.

We don’t see a shooting of an innocent Black child in another state as something separate from us because we know viscerally that it could be our child, our parent, or us, that is shot.

The shooting of Walter Scott in North Charleston resonated with me because Walter Scott was portrayed in the media as a deadbeat and a criminal — but when you look at the facts about the actual man, he was nearly indistinguishable from my own father.

Racism affects us directly because the fact that it happened at a geographically remote location or to another Black person is only a coincidence, an accident. It could just as easily happen to us — right here, right now.

Black people think in terms of we because we live in a society where the social and political structures interact with us as Black people.

White people do not think in terms of we. White people have the privilege to interact with the social and political structures of our society as individuals. You are “you,” I am “one of them.” Whites are often not directly affected by racial oppression even in their own community, so what does not affect them locally has little chance of affecting them regionally or nationally. They have no need, nor often any real desire, to think in terms of a group. They are supported by the system, and so are mostly unaffected by it.

What they are affected by are attacks on their own character. To my aunt, the suggestion that “people in The North are racist” is an attack on her as a racist. She is unable to differentiate her participation within a racist system (upwardly mobile, not racially profiled, able to move to White suburbs, etc.) from an accusation that she, individually, is a racist. Without being able to make that differentiation, White people in general decide to vigorously defend their own personal non-racism, or point out that it doesn’t exist because they don’t see it.

The result of this is an incessantly repeating argument where a Black person says “Racism still exists. It is real,” and a white person argues “You’re wrong, I’m not racist at all. I don’t even see any racism.” My aunt’s immediate response is not “that is wrong, we should do better.” No, her response is self-protection: “That’s not my fault, I didn’t do anything. You are wrong.”

Racism is not slavery. As President Obama said, it’s not avoiding the use
of the word Nigger. Racism is not white water fountains and the back of
the bus. Martin Luther King did not end racism. Racism is a cop severing
the spine of an innocent man. It is a 12 year old child being shot for playing with a toy gun in a state where it is legal to openly carry firearms.

But racism is even more subtle than that. It’s more nuanced. Racism is
the fact that “White” means “normal” and that anything else is different. Racism is our acceptance of an all white Lord of the Rings cast because
of “historical accuracy,” ignoring the fact that this is a world with an
entirely fictionalized history.

Even when we make shit up,
we want it to be white.

And racism is the fact that we all accept that it is white. Benedict Cumberbatch playing Khan in Star Trek. Khan, who is from India.
Is there anyone Whiter than Benedict fucking Cumberbatch? What?
They needed a “less racial” cast because they already had the
Black Uhura character?

That is racism. Once you let yourself see it, it’s there all the time.

Black children learn this when their parents give them “The Talk.”
When they are sat down at the age of 5 or so and told that their best
friend’s father is not sick, and not in a bad mood — he just doesn’t
want his son playing with you. Black children grow up early to life in
The Matrix. We’re not given a choice of the red or blue pill. Most white people, like my aunt, never have to choose. The system was made for
White people, so White people don’t have to think about living in it.

But we can’t point this out.

Living every single day with institutionalized racism and then having to argue its very existence, is tiring, and saddening, and angering. Yet if we express any emotion while talking about it, we’re tone policed, told we’re being angry. In fact, a key element in any racial argument in America is the Angry Black person, and racial discussions shut down when that person speaks. The Angry Black person invalidates any arguments about racism because they are “just being overly sensitive,” or “too emotional,” or– playing the race card. Or even worse, we’re told that we are being racist (Does any intelligent person actually believe a systematically oppressed demographic has the ability to oppress those in power?)

But here is the irony, here’s the thing that all the angry Black people know, and no calmly debating White people want to admit: The entire discussion of race in America centers around the protection of White feelings.

Ask any Black person and they’ll tell you the same thing. The reality of thousands of innocent people raped, shot, imprisoned, and systematically disenfranchised are less important than the suggestion that a single White person might be complicit in a racist system.

This is the country we live in. Millions of Black lives are valued less than a single White person’s hurt feelings.

White people and Black people are not having a discussion about race. Black people, thinking as a group, are talking about living in a racist system. White people, thinking as individuals, refuse to talk about “I, racist” and instead protect their own individual and personal goodness. In doing so, they reject the existence of racism.

But arguing about personal non-racism is missing the point.

Despite what the Charleston Massacre makes things look like, people are dying not because individuals are racist, but because individuals are helping support a racist system by wanting to protect their own non-racist self beliefs.

People are dying because we are supporting a racist system that justifies White people killing Black people.

see this in how one Muslim killer is Islamic terror; how one Mexican thief points to the need for border security; in one innocent, unarmed Black man shot in the back by a cop, then sullied in the media as a thug and criminal.

And in the way a white racist in a state that still flies the confederate flag is seen as “troubling” and “unnerving.” In the way people “can’t understand why he would do such a thing.”

A white person smoking pot is a “hippie” and a Black person doing it is a “criminal.” It’s evident in the school to prison pipeline and the fact that there are close to 20 people of color in prison for every white person.

There’s a headline from The Independent that sums this up quite nicely: “Charleston shooting: Black and Muslim killers are ‘terrorists’ and ‘thugs’. Why are white shooters called ‘mentally ill’?”

I’m gonna read that again: “Black and Muslim killers are ‘terrorists’ and ‘thugs’. Why are white shooters called ‘mentally ill’?”

Did you catch that? It’s beautifully subtle. This is an article talking specifically about the different way we treat people of color in this nation and even in this article’s headline, the white people are “shooters” and the Black and Muslim people are “killers.”

Even when we’re talking about racism, we’re using racist language to make people of color look dangerous and make White people come out as not so bad.

Just let that sink in for a minute, then ask yourself why Black people are angry when they talk about race.

The reality of America is that White people are fundamentally good, and so when a white person commits a crime, it is a sign that they, as an individual, are bad. Their actions as a person are not indicative of any broader social construct. Even the fact that America has a growing number of violent hate groups, populated mostly by white men, and that nearly *all* serial killers are white men can not shadow the fundamental truth of white male goodness. In fact, we like White serial killers so much, we make mini-series about them.

White people are good as a whole, and only act badly as individuals.

People of color, especially Black people (but boy we can talk about
“The Mexicans” in this community) are seen as fundamentally bad.
There might be a good one — and we are always quick to point them
out to our friends, show them off as our Academy Award for “Best Non-Racist in a White Role” — but when we see a bad one, it’s just proof that
the rest are, as a rule, bad.

This, all of this, expectation, treatment, thought, the underlying social system that puts White in the position of Normal and good, and Black
in the position of “other” and “bad,” all of this, is racism.

And White people, every single one of you, are complicit in this racism because you benefit directly from it.

This is why I don’t like the story of the good samaritan. Everyone likes to think of themselves as the person who sees someone beaten and bloodied and helps him out.

That’s too easy.

If I could re-write that story, I’d rewrite it from the perspective of Black America. What if the person wasn’t beaten and bloody? What if it wasn’t so obvious? What if they were just systematically challenged in a thousand small ways that actually made it easier for you to succeed in life?

Would you be so quick to help then?
Or would you, like most White people, stay silent and let it happen?

Here’s what I want to say to you: Racism is so deeply embedded in this country not because of the racist right-wing radicals who practice it openly, it exists because of the silence and hurt feelings of liberal America.

That’s what I want to say, but really, I can’t. I can’t say that because I’ve spent my life not talking about race to White people. In a big way, it’s my fault. Racism exists because I, as a Black person, don’t challenge you to look at it.

Racism exists because I, not you, am silent.

But I’m caught in the perfect Catch 22, because when I start pointing out racism, I become the Angry Black Person, and the discussion shuts down again. So I’m stuck.

All the Black voices in the world speaking about racism all the time do not move White people to think about it– but one White John Stewart talking about Charleston has a whole lot of White people talking about it. That’s the world we live in. Black people can’t change it while White people are silent and deaf to our words.

White people are in a position of power in this country because of racism. The question is: Are they brave enough to use that power to speak against the system that gave it to them?

So I’m asking you to help me. Notice this. Speak up. Don’t let it slide. Don’t stand watching in silence. Help build a world where it never gets to the point where the Samaritan has to see someone bloodied and broken.

As for me,
I will no longer be silent.

I’m going to try to speak kindly, and softly, but that’s gonna be hard. Because it’s getting harder and harder for me to think about the protection of White people’s feelings when White people don’t seem to care at all about the loss of so many Black lives.

The Horror of “Obesity Autopsy”

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

Bad Doctor

Yes, the BBC is airing the autopsy of a fat person. No, it’s not ok. I can see the meeting now, someone stands up and says “how can we create programming that plays on and sensationalizes the social stigma against fat people, makes no medical sense, helps no one, and does tremendous harm?”  And thus “Obesity Autopsy” was born, eclipsing “Sharknado” as possibly the most ridiculous idea to get produced and aired but, of course, far more harmful.

Let’s start with the basics. They have flown the body of a “nearly” 238 pound woman, who died in her sixties of heart disease and donated her body to science, from Long Beach, California 5,000 miles to London so that Mike Osborn, a consultant for the Royal College of Pathologists, and Carla Valentine, an assistant pathology technician can perform an autopsy which will first be aired as part of a one hour program on BBC Three, an online service focused on the youth demographic, and then on a late-night slot on either BBC One or Two. The program will also include a panel of “obese young contributors,” who will explore the causes of obesity, and how it affects their day-to-day lives.

Before I get into this, let’s remember that fat people have the right to live and thrive in fat bodies without shame, stigma, bullying, or oppression and it doesn’t matter why we’re fat, what the consequences of being fat may or may not be, and if we could – or even want to- become less fat or not fat. Any suggestion otherwise will be some combination of sizeist, ableist, and/or healthist. The rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are not size (or health) dependent.

Now that we’ve got that crystal clear, let’s start with the many ways that this is medically unsound:

I can’t imagine why they would fly a body 5,000 miles unless the UK has laws that require greater respect for the dead than this debacle, or that they want to make a spectacle of the transport as well as the autopsy.

The idea that one can extrapolate information about all fat people from the autopsy of one fat person is patently ridiculous.  This is taking what I’ll call the “Dr. Oz Fallacy” (wherein he tried to claim that all fat people have bad hearts based on the fact that the fat people who had come to him for heart surgery had bad hearts – as if the thin people who came to him for heart surgery were actually fine…) to whole new lows.

The autopsy can’t even tell us everything about this woman’s body (let alone everything about all fat people’s bodies, let alone how they do or don’t relate to thin people’s bodies.) For example:

It can’t tell us about her genetics in terms of body size or cardiac issues. It cannot tell us if her autopsy results are due to her body size, or something else entirely.  The  entire premise is completely bereft logic and I absolutely question the ethics of the pathologist and the assistant pathology technician participating.

It can’t tell us how she was affected by the culture of fat hate (Peter Muennig’s studies have found that the diseases that are correlated with “obesity” are also correlated with the stress of constant stigma, and that women who feel they are too heavy have more physical and mental illnesses than women who are fine with their size, regardless of their size.)

It can’t tell us if she was affected by the chronic dieting (and subsequent weight cycling) that is almost never successful and yet is prescribed throughout our lives to fat people by our healthcare providers.

It can’t tell us if she was affected by taking extremely dangerous drugs that doctors suggest fat people should take for a very tiny chance to get thin, despite the risk of death (often from heart problems,) or if she was affected by the tendency to prescribe to fat people what we diagnose in thin people.

It can’t tell us if her actual health problems were ignored by doctors who prescribed manipulation of body size instead of the evidence-based interventions that a thin person with the same symptoms would have received. It also can’t tell us if she avoided the doctor  or delayed seeking treatment because of their tendency to substitute shame and diets for actual evidence-based care.

It can’t tell us if her healthcare was compromised by the epidemic of fat bias among doctors.  It can’t tell us if doctors would have worked harder to save her if she was a thin person on the table.

What it can tell us is that instead of using this woman’s donation of her body to science to advance the care that fat people receive (for example giving future surgeons a chance to work on a fat cadaver rather than seeing their first fat body when they are working on it) they are exploiting her life and death. I can’t imagine how I, or my loved ones, would feel if I donated my body to science and instead it was used in a mockery of science for television ratings.  It is inexcusable, it is unjustifiable, it is disrespectful, it is wrong.

And for everything this autopsy won’t tell us about this woman, it tells us exponentially less about every other fat person. And the people behind this are so utterly ignorant about that, that it’s embarrassing.  According to the Telegraph (not linking because of headless fatty picture) “Damian Kavanagh, the controller of BBC Three, said young people needed to be shown the impact of unhealthy eating.”

Body size is not the same thing as “unhealthy eating.” Fat people have behaviors around eating (and everything else) as varied as any other group of people. Speaking of questionably drawn conclusions,  I’m concerned about a panel of “obese young contributors  exploring the causes of obesity, and how it affects their day-to-day lives.”

First I’m concerned with the effect on these panelists. Even if one believes that “determining the causes of obesity” is a noble pursuit, it should follow that the pursuit should be undertaken with scientific rigor, not by asking fat people (who live in a fatphobic society and get messages like the one from Damian Kavanagh that suggest that “obesity” is the same as “unhealthy eating”) to speculate wildly – even if they weren’t handpicked to agree with the stigmatizing premise of this show.

I’m also concerned that they are asking about the effects of obesity on these kids’ lives, when it’s so common to try to convince us to blame on body size what is actually the effect of fat stigma.

Not to mention that even if this autopsy could draw medically sound conclusions about fat people (and let’s be super clear that it cannot) that wouldn’t change the fact that fat people should be able to live without sizeist, healthist, ableist stigma, nor would it change the fact that there is not a single study where more than a tiny fraction of people have maintained significant long term weight loss, so if the suggestion is that being smaller would make us healthier than it’s as useful as telling us that being taller would make us healthier.

This show is an abomination that can only serve to disrespect the dead and stereotype and stigmatize fat people, and it has no place on the air.

If you want to give feedback you can Send them your thoughts using their online form

Edit:  I wanted to share with you this response from Daniel Goldberg, a bioethicist at the Center for Bioethics & Humanities at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus:

Having just taught several sessions on the “Cadaver as First Patient” to medical students, I can suggest that there are enormous power issues that are involved in dissection. The learners generally feel this, and it can be overwhelming — to their infinite credit, most students I’ve encountered intuitively get this and apply a huge amount of respect and even reverence for the cadaver that marks the beginning of their entry into medicine.

Moreover, many learners, albeit not all, humanize their cadaver by giving them a name and even a narrative backstory — to symbolize their belief that the cadaver on the table is more than just a thing. This was a person, with hands that held and eyes that cried. The abomination described here countermands all of these ideals — it encourages seeing the body as an object, and as one that exists purely to explore pathology, disease, and dysfunction. A more offensive, stigmatizing, and structurally harmful display would be difficult to divine. FWIW, this bioethicist finds it utterly transgressive and reprehensible.

If you want to get more information and community support around making sure that stuff like this stops happening, join us at the Fat Activism Conference:


This year we have a kick ass line up of speakers talking about everything from Re-Imagining Fashion from an Inclusive Framework” to “Activism for the Introverted and Anxious” to “Building Fat Patient Power While Accessing Healthcare” and moreThis is a virtual conference so you can listen by phone or computer wherever you are, and you’ll receive recordings and transcripts of each talk so that you can listen/read on your own schedule.  We also offer a pay what you can afford option to make the conference accessible to everyone. The Conference will be held September 23-25, 2016

Click Here to Register!


Scared thin: The obesity autopsy

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

Graffiti on a bathroom door celebrating fat people.

At some point in the recent past, a roughly 60-year-old woman died in Southern California, and generously donated her body to science. 5,000 miles away, her body is about to be cut open for the titillation of British viewers on BBC3 in a horrific spectacle being performed in the name of science, but really it’s about sensationalism. Jane Doe, as I’ll call her, weighed 238 pounds at the time of her death, and she’s the posthumous star of the ‘obesity autopsy,’ to be performed by Mike Osborn and Carla Valentine. Viewers have been informed that the hour-long special will be an educational journey about the effects of clinical obesity on the body, but it sounds a lot more like something else: The cartoonish ‘scared straight’ lectures used to terrorise youth into staying on the straight and narrow.

This act of infotainment is a travesty, and on multiple levels.

The body

We don’t know very much about Jane Doe, as is common with people who donate their bodies to science. Typically, people don’t have a lot of choice when it comes to how their bodies are going to be used, because death is unpredictable, and though people can make dedicated anatomical gifts to medical schools (or the body farm), they don’t have much control over how their bodies will be used. While medical schools do use cadavers in anatomy classes and training, bodies are also used for anthropological research, safety research, and a number of other things. Your body might be slowly taken apart by medical students over the course of a semester, or it might be blown up by the Army.

It’s possible that Doe found out about the programme and specifically willed her body for this purpose. That seems unlikely.

Because people are sensitive about human remains, a lot of regulations as well as contracts and agreements surround body donation and the use of cadavers. For example, the faces, or at least the eyes, of cadavers are often covered in scientific publications to obscure their identities. There is educational value in performing full or partial dissections, or displaying prosections, for the public, but someone has to arbitrate that value. In this case, those responsible thought that literally flaying the body of a dead fat woman to terrify people into thinking that obesity is a monster was educational.

It’s very odd that a body from California was chosen for this programme, given that there are presumably plenty of dead fat people in the UK as well. Was it done to further sensationalise the event, by dramatising the journey? Are there restrictions and caveats on body donation in the UK that made it difficult or impossible to use someone from London or the surrounding area for this purpose?

The medicine

We’ve been repeatedly told that fat is unhealthy, and that fat bodies are inherently damaged. That’s the angle being used here, as Jane Doe died of heart disease, and the promotion for the feature repeatedly stresses ‘the effects of obesity on the body’ and provides images designed to evoke horror, like deposits of adipose tissue and changes in Doe’s skeletal structure. Yet, we know nothing about Doe’s background, and legally, many of the details of her life must be obscured. Does she have a family history of heart disease? A genetic condition? An underlying illness? Can anything be definitively attributed to her weight? Ragen Chastain wrote at length about her concerns with the autopsy, with a specific focus on the bad medicine and bad science involved.

The context

Researchers who work with bodies, especially in educational settings, treat them with profound respect in many cases. They develop connections and relationships with them, whether it’s a deceased patient being autopsied to look for cause of death, a body being dissected in a medical school lab, or a body being allowed to decay under natural conditions to advance the causes of forensic science. People often name their bodies, and come to develop a kind of appreciative affection for them.

At medical schools in particular, it’s common to hold a ceremony at the end of the year. The families of donors may be thanked, particularly in regions where body donation is stigmatised. The thought of exposing a dead body this way is chilling, with no respect for the former person who dwelt within it. Doe’s very body is becoming an object lesson — is that something she consented to? Even if it was, does that make it appropriate? What kinds of thoughts are going through the minds of the organisers of this event?

A panel of fat people will apparently be accompanying the autopsy, but it’s unclear what context, if any, they will provide. It seems unlikely that the panel will include fat activists who push back on bad science and bad medicine, who challenge people to rethink fat. It seems unlikely that the show will discuss fat stigma and medical discrimination experienced by fat people, let alone larger social stigma leveled at fat people. It seems probable instead that the panel will affirm the opinions presented as fact, the perpetuation of the myth that being fat is unhealthy, but a miserable and terrible fate.

The audience

This programme is being aimed at young adults and youth — BBC3 is an online network. While it may be picked up for broadcast on late night, because evidently the content is explicit enough to upset primetime, it’s quite clear that this is intended to scare young people. To bring things back, for a moment, to ‘scared straight,’ it’s notable that the Department of Justice actually came down against the use of fear tactics to cultivate healthy habits in youth. If the organisers genuinely believe that fat is unhealthy and that they need to trigger youth to be ‘healthier’ (i.e. less fat), it seems strange indeed to use a tactic that doesn’t work, and has in fact been shown to have the opposite effect.

Is this science in the public interest? Or is it a freak show, trafficking upon a group of already marginalised people to spin a grotesque, yet fascinating, narrative? This isn’t research: Examining a single cadaver without context provides no real contribution to science. And it’s not education: The goal isn’t to teach people about anatomy and physiology, but specifically to terrify people with a ‘gross’ body.

What it does is guarantee ratings and riveted viewers. And it perpetuates the stigma that surrounds fat people, who are likely to have an even worse go of it than usual in the UK as this airs. Children will taunt each other on the playground. Adults will feel emboldened to make hateful remarks. Physicians will find new reasons to discriminate against fat patients. Employers, thinking of the flayed innards of Jane Doe, will shudder when reviewing fat job applicants. This isn’t just a fiendish mockery of dissection and anatomical research, but something that will do very direct social harm.

Recently, I’d been thinking about anatomical gifts and whether I might like to donate by body for the betterment of society and my fellow humans. This has made up my mind against it, and I’m not the only one.

Three arrested over human trafficking after raid in Highcliffe

Friday, September 9th, 2016

THREE men have been arrested on suspicion of people trafficking offences after a raid at a Highcliffe home.

Officers from Dorset Police and the Home Office’s UK Visas and Immigration team – formerly known as the Border Agency – swooped on the detached house in Lymington Road on Wednesday afternoon.

Three men – a 54-year-old and a 48-year-old, both from Lymington, as well as a 43-year-old from Poole – have now been released on bail until the middle of next month pending further enquiries.
A further three men aged 41 and two aged 52, all of whom are from China, have also been detained.

The raid took place at a quiet stretch of Lymington Road just minutes away from Highcliffe Castle.

Officers parked outside the Lord Bute Hotel and Restaurant before making the arrests at the private property.

The four-bed house is believed to have been bought for more than half a million pounds in September last year.
Owners are completing extensive renovations works to the property, which has a heated 30-foot swimming pool and pump house in the back garden, as well as two summer houses.

Estates agents described it as a “secluded plot”.

A security guard employed by firm Securitas was standing outside of the property throughout Wednesday night and into yesterday morning.

Neighbours have spoken of their shock.

One said: “Some people moved into the house around six or seven months ago I think.

“It’s set back from the road and it’s very private.

“There used to be a five-bar farm gate over the entrance, but the new owners have built a new fence, so it makes it even more isolated.”

A spokesperson from Dorset Police said the men from Lymington and Poole have been arrested on suspicion of human trafficking.

The Chinese nationals have been detained under immigration laws.

They will be dealt with by UK Immigration Services, the spokesperson said.

No one required medical treatment.

Man survives shotgun blast to chest in street shooting in Brixton

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

A man was shot in the chest in broad daylight in an attempted gang hit on a south London street busy with schoolchildren.

The victim, 21, was blasted in the chest from a few yards away with a shotgun, suffering a punctured lung and a severely damaged windpipe.

A schoolboy, 16, who was making his way to the library, was also wounded in the arm after the shooting on the corner of Marcella road in Brixton on May 12.

The 21-year-old only survived thanks to emergency surgery. He went on to make a full recovery. The schoolboy was taken to a south London hospital and later discharged.

The victim dives for his life behind a parked car

Police today released CCTV footage of the victim’s attempt to dive for cover behind a parked car as they hunt three suspects on suspicion of attempted murder.

In the shocking footage, the gunman can be seen taking the sawn-off shotgun off an accomplice, before opening fire from the middle of the street.

The suspects are dressed in black hooded jackets and wearing face masks. After the shooting at 7pm, all three men fled the scene on foot down Ferry Mews towards Brixton road.

The suspected gunman fled on a bicyle while his accomplices fled on foot.

Police are hunting three men who opened fire on a man in the street in Brixton

Police are keen to trace two passers-by who were threatened at gunpoint as the man made his escape.

Detective Constable Jo Ross said: “The 21-year-old victim was fortunate to recover from what were potentially life-threatening injuries at the time of the incident.

“Other passers-by were threatened by having a shotgun pointed at them – these are dangerous people.

The second suspect being hunted by police

“We are keen for the public to give us any information in relation to this appeal, who witnessed the incident or who recognises the suspects.

“It happened in broad daylight and in an area full of schoolchildren.”

The suspects are all described as black men in their 20s wearing dark clothing.

Police also want to trace this man, seen on cctv wearing a baseball cap with a white mark on the peak

Suspect one is of medium build, with a dark coloured bag over his shoulder and wearing black and white gloves.

Suspect two is described as slim, with a dark top with a large white Franklin and Marshall logo across the front, fur-lined hat with ear flaps, dark grey bandana and black trousers.

Suspect three is described as slim, wearing a baseball cap with a white mark on the peak and black gloves.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Terrifying moment man chased by mob and stabbed in Hackney street

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

This is the terrifying moment a man was chased by a mob and stabbed in a vicious street attack in Hackney.

The dramatic CCTV footage shows a man swinging a knife around wildly as the victim, who is in his mid-twenties, flees the gang.

More than 10 people are seen running behind the attackers, kicking and shoving each other as the victim runs for his life.

One of the men police want to speak to is seen running into the brawl, knifing the fleeing victim with a vicious downward strike.

The end of the footage, released by police, shows the two suspects speaking with two women whose faces are blurred. One of the suspects then hugs a woman.

Suspects: The two men police want to speak to following the stabbing. (Met Police)

Police have today stepped up the hunt to find the two men, following the attack on Sunday, May 1.

The victim ran into two on-patrol police officers by chance after being chased down the street by the two suspects.

Detectives today released video of the attack, on Gillett Street at around 5.10am, and photos of the two men they want to speak to.

The first suspect is a black man of average build with his hair tied back on top of his head.. He was wearing a grey hooded top with a yellow ‘A&Fitch’ logo on the front, jeans and dark shoes.

The other suspect is described by police as a bald black man of large build and wearing a light hooded top with a print on the front, dark coloured trousers and light shoes.

Detectives from the Met Police’s specialist gang violence unit – Trident and Area Crime Command – are investigating the assault.

They want to hear from anyone who might recognise the men or who saw the incident.

Anyone with any information is asked to please contact police via 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.