The Metropolitan Police are institutionally racist

Mark DugganA year ago today, an armed Metropolitan police officer shot Mark Duggan in the chest and killed him. There was a gun in the cab but Duggan was not holding it and the gun had not been fired. [Evidence from the inquest: there is no evidence the gun was in the cab at the time the police caught up with him. The only shots fired were from police guns: Duggan was unarmed when he was killed.]

Our mission: Working together for a safer London

Duggan’s parents found out that their son had been killed by the police from a newspaper headline.

Our values: Working together with all our citizens, all our partners, all our colleagues:

The police who had killed Duggan lied: They claimed there had been an “exchange of fire”.

We will have pride in delivering quality policing.

Metropolitan Police confront bleeding protestersTottenham police station refused to meet with the peaceful delegation of protesters come to ask questions about the police killing of Duggan. Instead, they sent out a squad with riot shields.

There is no greater priority: We will build trust by listening and responding

Four days of riots across England: because the Metropolitan police did not want to listen or respond to a peaceful delegation come to ask about the police killing of a local and well-liked man.

We will learn from experience and find ways to be even better

In early September, weeks after police racism had triggered four days of rioting, an off-duty fireman attempted to help the police:

Kennedy-Macfoy was driving through Harrow around 3.30am on 4 September when he saw a young man hurl a rock at a police van. After noting a description of the young man, Kennedy-Macfoy, who also trained as a police constable, flagged down the van driver and approached a line of officers to pass the information on.

He said he was horrified at their response, which he alleges included officers behaving like “wild animals”: swearing at him, dragging him from his car, subjecting him to a “violent” attack and eventually shooting him with a stun gun.

Kennedy-Macfoy was found not guilty in February of obstructing police. During a two-day trial at Brent magistrates court, Inspector David Bergum, who was present on the night, said his officers were in a “stressful” situation and had been dealing with a group of partygoers who had been throwing missiles at them.

He said of Kennedy-Macfoy: “I couldn’t say he was anything to do with the party. The party was all black. He was black. He had driven through the cordon. I had to do a quick risk assessment.”

The police who attacked Kennedy-Macfoy have not been charged.

We will respect and support each other and work as a team

Well, yes. We see they do.

We are one team – we all have a duty to play our part in making London safer.

Bruno, Mark’s father, died recently from cancer. Pam, Mark’s mother:

“Bruno was hoping for some closure about Mark’s shooting but the last development before he died was the pre-inquest review where the IPCC failed to hand over material to the coroner,” said Duggan. “Bruno did not get the closure he was hoping for.”

She said that losing two of the people she loved dearly in the space of 11 months made it very hard for her to keep going.

“I miss them both so much. Mark was a peacemaker. He had a soft heart and he loved life. I have to be strong for the sake of Mark’s children, my grandchildren, and the rest of my family. But my life has changed so much since the police shot Mark. Sometimes I’m scared to go out. And if I see a police car driving down the street my whole body starts to shake. I think that the officer who killed Mark could be in that car or that they’ve got guns and might do to someone else what they did to Mark.

“We used to have big family celebrations at Christmas with a nice tree. But I couldn’t put a tree up last Christmas. I spent the day at the cemetery instead.”

The family’s lawyer Marcia Willis Stewart said: “One year after the shooting the Duggan family still know nothing about the circumstances of their son’s death. It is important that a full inquest with a jury is held into this case.”

Doreen Lawrence, who took on the Metropolitan Police’s institutional racism to try to get justice for her son’s murder in 1993, was one of the nine flagbearers at the Olympic Opening Ceremony. But a year on from Mark Duggan’s killing by armed police, and Pam Duggan still waits.

In January 2012, Cressida Dick, a white assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan police, claimed:

Racist incidents and other hate crimes are investigated with a sensitivity, seriousness and success unrecognisable from that which prevailed when Stephen died.

The Met’s internal culture has also changed. The workforce is much more diverse and the Met celebrates that diversity, recognising its importance in being able to recruit and retain the best people, and in being much more representative of Londoners while being sensitive to their needs. The use of independent advisers from all communities has led to much more effective involvement of the public in policing, better consultation and engagement and quicker organisational learning.

Metropolitan Police lineup
See the diverse Metropolitan Police workforce lineup.

Change is only possible when institutions perceive a need for change. While the Metropolitan Police still defend surrounding a black man with armed police and killing him even though they can no longer claim they were being shot at, even after their actions following the police killing of Mark Duggan led to four days of riots across England, but can seriously maintain there’s no need to change because things are so much different now since 1993…

Happy Metropolitan Police

How many Metropolitan Police does it take to change a lightbulb?

None, they’ll have broken it but internal investigation will have found that the lightbulb was a threat to the safety of London.


Update, 9th January 2013

The jury at the Mark Duggan inquest ruled 8 to 2 that Duggan was unarmed, but that it was lawful for the police to shoot him dead. (Jury statement.)

Also, the Metropolitan Police and Boris Johnson think that the best possible response to the riots that followed the Met Police “lawful killing” of an unarmed man is to buy water cannon.

“Following the disorder in August 2011, both the Metropolitan police service and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary stated that there are some circumstances where water cannon may be of use in future.

“Following briefing by the [Met] commissioner I am broadly convinced of the value of having water cannon available to the MPS [Metropolitan police service] for those circumstances where its absence would lead to greater disorder or the use of more extreme force.”

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1 Comment

Filed under Racism, Riots

One response to “The Metropolitan Police are institutionally racist

  1. Zen

    Good post, 99 percent with you, but do we know a gun was in the cab? Zen

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