Accepted Paper:

African Migrant Struggles In Italy: The Narrative Behind Jallow's Arrest  
Emilia Melossi (University of Sussex)

Paper short abstract:

This paper considers the content, context and viral impact of shared videos and photographs of police brutality against African migrants in Italy in 2018, which had a major impact on the case against the police, in fact investigations were opened against policemen for abuse of power during an arrest

Paper long abstract:

The paper focuses on the arrest of an African “bracciante” from Gambia who lives in a shantytown outside Foggia in Puglia (Southern Italy) and makes his living picking tomatoes for less than 25 euros a day. Jallow was arrested in October 2018 for allegedly assaulting two policemen and attempting to resist arrest. The picture was taken by Jallow’s fellow migrant shantytown residents who were shocked by the way in which the Italian policemen were treating him and decided to video record his arrest to the chants of: “He is not an animal!”. The videos were uploaded on the web and went viral. “Campagne in Lotta,” a local activist group, committed to challenging the mainstream narrative that African migrant shantytown residents are “criminals” uploaded them on their platform increasing visibility. In the end, the police were forced to retract all accusations. Jallow was not only acquitted of all charges, but the policemen involved were investigated for abuse of power. By denouncing the racist, violent and dehumanizing police arrest tactics through the shared videos, the migrants’ struggle went from being a local issue to gaining increased visibility. The case however did not attract the attention it deserved because migrants suffer a double discrimination based on legal status and race and their lives are deemed less important than citizen’s lives. Ultimately, the ability and willingness to document and report police brutality is essential in combating institutional racism and discrimination across the globe and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement internationally.

Panel P16c
Global Black Lives Matter: representations of resistance, memory and politics
  Session 1