‘I am Judah’: Dr Clare Torrible provides legal expertise in documentary about Bristol community elder tasered in the face
Press release issued: 27 September 2022
The Law School’s Dr Clare Torrible, an expert in policing law, discusses police accountability in a soon-to-be released independent film that tells the story of ‘Ras’ Judah Adunbi, a highly respected elder from Easton, Bristol, who was tasered in the face by police after they mistook him for another black man five years ago.
In the documentary film, ‘I am Judah,’ Dr Clare Torrible joins Ras Judah Adunbi and Director Bashart Malik to highlight how institutional bias, system failure, and a lack of mindfulness led to a violent incident at Ras Judah’s home in 2017. Police mistook Ras Judah for a crime suspect while he was walking his dog. After he did not give his name when stopped, which is his legal right, he was tasered in the face.
The officer who discharged the taser was found not guilty at criminal trial and in September 2018 was cleared of misconduct.
In the documentary, Dr Clare Torrible looks back at the case and provides legal expertise in policing law to illustrate how the criminal justice and police misconduct systems can fail to promote trust and confidence in the police. She commented:
"Researching this project brought home to me the fear that is engendered when people feel that the police is not held properly to account. This film gives us an opportunity to start a conversation about what actions are needed to make change happen.”
Footage of the 2017 incident was recorded on phone by Ras Judah’s neighbour and watched by millions on mainstream news reports and over social media. The documentary highlighted that this was not the first time that Ras Judah has been a victim of police harassment and 'mistaken identity.' Director Bashart Malik, commented:
“Ras Judah isn’t a criminal. He has been involved in community engagement throughout his life: campaigned, raised funds; set up the St Paul’s Sports Academy; acted as police relations advisor; trained kids… a lifetime of community activism.”
Ras Judah Adunbi said: “The way we have been treated by those who should know better—police, local authority, government—it warrants exposure. We know unlawful acts have been conducted in this country and it’s been going on a long time.
“It’s not about me as an individual. I’m talking about what is happening up and down the country to other people. My story needs to go to people that matter: people suffering, people less fortunate. It is for future generations coming through.”
The film will premiere at the Watershed on Saturday 1 October, 5 PM. Book tickets via the 2022 Encounters Film Festival website.
The film will be screened at The Cube on Wednesday 5 October, 7.30 PM, followed by a Q&A. Book tickets via The Cube website.
The screening of ‘I am Judah’ is supported by The World Reimagined, a UK-wide charity connecting shared British history and the contemporary quest for racial justice.
Dr Clare Torrible is a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Bristol Law School. Dr Torrible’s research specialises in policing policy, evidence-based policing, and police accountability and regulation mechanisms, informed by extensive legal professional experience as a solicitor at both the Crown Prosecution Service and the former Avon and Somerset Police Authority.
In a recent Legal Research blog, Dr Clare Torrible discusses further police accountability and what form this should take. Find out more on the Law School blog site: “Why the police in England and Wales must do more than just learn lessons”
Other research from Dr Clare Torrible includes:
- Trust in the police and policing by consent in turbulent times
- Police complaints and discipline: integrity, lesson learning, independence and accountability
- Reconceptualising the police complaints process as a site of contested legitimacy claims
- Policing, professionalism and liability for negligence