Mother Speaks Out About Racial Profiling of Son

Claudia Ashanie Wilson

Claudia Ashanie Wilson is devastated that Reykjavík police twice placed her 16-year-old son in danger because he was mistaken for a fugitive with a similar skin colour. She told RÚV that she hopes the Icelandic police force and Icelandic society will learn from the incident.

Police had two interactions with Claudia’s son last week, in connection to their search for a 20-year-old fugitive. Last Wednesday, special forces stopped and boarded a bus after receiving a tip that the fugitive was on it. It was, however, Claudia’s son who was on the bus. The incident caused outrage among Icelanders as the two boys did not resemble each other in any way except having a similar skin tone. Police stopped Claudia’s son a second time the very next day, while he was at a bakery with his mother, again after receiving a tip that the 20-year-old fugitive had been seen.

“Words a Black mother never wants to hear”

“It was a total nightmare, to be brief. My innocent child was put in very dangerous and threatening situations, just because of the colour of his skin,” Claudia stated. “I have maybe said this before but there are three words that a Black mother never wants to hear in the same sentence, and they are ‘police,’ ‘guns,’ and ‘your child.’”

Claudia, who is a human rights lawyer, said she is thankful for her family’s strong support network. “He is getting the necessary trauma counselling and he is lucky enough to have two moms and two dads and plenty of friends and family who are taking care of him.”

Hopes the incident is educational

Claudia called the incident humiliating, but despite the trauma it has caused, she would rather look forward and try to learn from the incident. “There are way too many stories about this, I would say police interaction with innocent children of foreign origin for no reason, and especially those who are visibly of foreign origin, unfortunately. That alone can lead to mistrust of the police which I think no one wants.”

In her work as a human rights lawyer, Claudia says she has repeatedly heard of racial profiling within Icelandic policing, something that must be uprooted. The police have clearly made mistakes in this case which lowers public trust towards them. “We are not going to solve any problems by ignoring the elephant in the room. We have to work on this together, this is a social issue that we are all responsible for.”

Daði Einarsson Wins BAFTA Award

The Witcher / Twitter

Icelander Daði Einarsson has won a BAFTA award for Special, Visual, and Graphic Effects in the Netflix show The Witcher. Daði won the award alongside his colleagues Gavin Round, Aleksander Pejic, Oliver Cubbage, Stefano Pepin, and Jet Omoshebi. The Witcher also won in the category of Make-up and Hair Design at the annual awards last night, held by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

Daði is a visual effects supervisor known for his work on the films Everest (2015), Gravity (2013) and Adrift (2018). He was the executive visual effects supervisor for ten episodes of Trapped between 2015-2016. His credits also include two Harry Potter movies, where he worked as an animator and visual effects supervisor.

Daði is not the first Icelander to win a BAFTA award. Musicians Ólafur Arnalds and Hildur Guðnadóttir have both won BAFTAs, for their composing in the TV series Broadchurch and the film Joker, respectively.

Bird Flu Widespread in Wild Birds in Iceland

súlur súla gannets

Bird flu was confirmed in eight out of 15 samples that were taken from wild birds in Iceland last week, Iceland’s Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) announced. MAST has encouraged farmers of domestic fowl and other bird owners to take measures to prevent infection among their birds. The risk of infection to humans and other animals is, however, considered very low.

The eight positive samples processed last week were from three different regions of the country. Three were from gannets found in Njarðvík and Grindavík, Southwest Iceland; three from gannets found on Snæfellsnes peninsula, West Iceland; one from a greylag goose in Akureyri, North Iceland; and one from a great black-backed gull in Húsavík (also in North Iceland). The first positive samples among wild birds were confirmed earlier this month.

Risk of infection high for domestic fowl

“It is clear that at this time bird flu is widespread among wild birds and the risk of infection for domestic fowl is therefore great,” the notice from MAST reads. “Birds kept partially outdoors, or in buildings where infection prevention is inadequate, are most at risk of infection.”

To prevent infection, MAST encourages farmers to keep fowl indoors or under solid roofing, so that neither wild birds nor their droppings can come into contact with the domestic fowl. Farmworkers are recommended to switch shoes and put on protective clothing when attending to the birds and not use the same gear outside of where the birds are kept.

Risk of human and pet infection low

Despite the cases found among wild birds in Iceland, Brigitte Brugger, a MAST veterinarian who specialises in domestic fowl, told Vísir humans have no reason to worry about getting infected with bird flu – nor worry about their pets contracting it. “There are no indications that humans contract these viruses. There are very few known exceptions where people who have had a lot of contact with groups of infected birds have contracted [bird flu] and gotten mild symptoms, but the average person has nothing to fear at this time,” Brigitte stated.

Cat and dog owners need not worry either, according to Brigitte, though if pets bring home wild birds, owners should avoid touching them with bare hands, and should instead dispose of the birds using plastic bags or gloves.