Nationality: Wog: The Hounding of David Oluwale

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Jonathan Cape, Jul 7, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 256 pages
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When the body of David Oluwale, a homeless man with a criminal record and a history of mental illness, was pulled out of a river near Leeds in May 1969, nobody asked too many questions about the circumstances of his death. A police charge sheet from three months before had "U.K." crossed out, and his nationality replaced with a handwritten "WOG"a racial epithet. A year and a half later, rumors that the Nigerian man had been subject to a lengthy campaign of abuse from two police officers led to the opening of the grave and a difficult criminal investigation. Drawing on original archival material only just released into the public domain, and interviews with police officers and lawyers involved in the eventual prosecution of two Leeds City Police officers, this chilling book revisits one of the most notorious racist crimes in British history. David Oluwale came to Britain as a stowaway in 1949, as a British subject and citizen with a belief that "the Mother Country" was a place of fairness and liberty and law. Not just the forensic examination of a crime, Kester Aspden's imaginative reconstruction of the life and death of this obscure man exposes the beginnings of institutionalized police racism in Britain and raises questions as relevant today as they were at the end of the 1960s.

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