2:16 pm 7 April 2022
The Mayor of Camden said how deeply shocked she was by the strip search of Child Q by a Met Police officer.
Cllr Sabrina Francis was taking part in a council debate on tackling racial inequality in Camden.
The Labor mayor spoke of the “unconscious adultification” of young black children and asked what the council could do to help them have as long childhoods as white children.
Child Q was wrongly accused of carrying cannabis by a teacher at her school in Hackney and was intimately searched by two police officers.
Cllr Francis said it was “truly the most shocking inappropriate thing I have ever heard in my life”.
She added: “I’m not ashamed to say that every time I saw him in the news I cried and cried when I heard the powerful response from his community and I I’ve seen people condemn her and be very clear, very frankly, that it would have never happened to a white girl.”
Cllr Francis has spoken of the ‘stark reminder’ of occasional racism she encountered at an event in Wandsworth where ‘I was repeatedly asked if I was really mayor’, to a room full of other mayors .
She told the April 6 council meeting that often ‘we forget that problems happen in our own backyard’, referring to an incident in 2020 when armed police came to the home of a Camden resident because “a description of a black man with a gun was given” and it was “his own child”.
She said it was “unconscious adultification” whereby black girls and boys are seen as older than they are.
Young black girls are viewed as street wise men and as women, she said, which leads to victimization, not being taken seriously and ‘a lack of understanding when we are attacked’ , or “groomed”, while “black boys are seen as a threat and often seen as men by the age of 10”.
“We know this leads to harsher sentences and more use of discipline when they are in the education system,” she added.
“We all need to think carefully about what it does to our children, what we steal from them and what we can do as a council, and maybe even come up with some ideas on how we can get to the stage. where black children can have a childhood and be children for as long as white children.”