By Leah Conway –
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire and Alison Lowe, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, have condemned the theft of a plaque which commemorates the life and legacy of David Oluwale in a joint statement.
David Oluwale was a British Nigerian man who lived in Leeds from 1949. In 1969 David drowned in the River Aire, and his death led to the first successful prosecution of British police officers for involvement in the death of a black person.
David’s death was followed by official investigations led by Scotland Yard, which revealed the systemic violence that David Oluwale faced from police officers.
The plaque was unveiled on Leeds Bridge on Monday and was stolen merely hours after its unveiling.
Together, Tracy Brabin and Alison Lowe: “Hearing the news of this awful theft really saddened and disappointed us that individuals could do such a thing only hours after it was put in place.
“However we agree with Leeds Civic Trust, who helped to organise last night’s special ceremony for the plaque unveiling, that it will not deter us from celebrating and remembering what a historic moment for Leeds and for David Oluwale’s legacy yesterday’s unveiling was.
“We know West Yorkshire Police have launched a hate crime investigation believing this to potentially be a deliberately targeted act.
“We welcome this action and would urge anyone with information to contact the police.
“David’s plaque was and is a continued reminder of our collective responsibilities in calling out racism and promoting diversity. That has only been highlighted even further with this appalling action by thoughtless individuals trying to destroy something that represents everything good about our city.
“We will not let that happen as we both place David’s legacy at the heart of our approach, ensuring that we all learn from the traumas of the past. Equality and Inclusion is at the heart of all we do and that will continue.
“The shadow thrown by this theft will not dim the light of hope created by the plaque that has brought communities together to tackle racism in all its forms. That vital work continues.”
Get in touch
Anyone with information or possible leads is asked to contact Leeds District CID via 101 quoting crime reference 13220222118. Information can also be reported via online live chat.
Alternatively, information can also be given anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.