Unless you live in Britain you probably never heard of Stephen Lawrence. That is a shame. What happened to Stephen, the courageous struggle by his family for some justice, and the actions of the police in this case are a lesson that should go far beyond the British Isles.
Twenty years ago this month Stephen was waiting with a friend for a bus when he was brutally murdered by racist thugs. Some of those who were involved have been tried and convicted, but others remain free today.
What is amazing about this case is the lengths his family has gone to find some kind of justice. As Our Kingdom writes:
No family has campaigned as this one - taking their own evidence to the police, bringing a private prosecution against the alleged killers, demanding and getting a public inquiry which culminated in landmark changes to the law and the redefining of racial incidents.
Yet, since Stephen was killed more than 100 others in Britain have lost their lives as a result of racist assault
In the past few weeks what has been found out concerning the police is totally disgusting. It seems that the London Metropolitan police has attempted to smear the family. Socialist World.net reports:
A former undercover police officer, Peter Francis, says he was instructed in 1993 to find information that could discredit the family and anti-racism campaigners.
Peter Francis told the Guardian that he was instructed to ‘infiltrate’ Youth Against Racism in Europe (YRE), a campaign that was initiated by supporters of Militant Labour, the forerunner of the Socialist Party (CWI England and Wales).
...Francis, who says he posed for four years as an anti-racist campaigner. He was also asked to target one of the witnesses to the murder, Duwayne Brooks: "I had to get any information on what was happening in the Stephen Lawrence campaign," Mr Francis told the Guardian. "They wanted the campaign to stop. It was felt it was going to turn into an elephant. Throughout my deployment there was almost constant pressure on me personally to find out anything I could that would discredit these campaigns."
Peter Francis has become a whistleblower. He has decided to reveal his identity to call for a public inquiry into undercover policing. "There are many things that I've seen that have been morally wrong, morally reprehensible," he said. "Should we, as police officers, have the power to basically undermine political campaigns? I think that the clear answer to that is no."
As a whistleblower, he will now become the victim of all manner of harassment, bullying and subtle forms of persecution. He will be systematically undermined, demoralised, and his mental health questioned. Just as he was tasked with spreading 'disinformation' about the Lawrences, so his superiors will seek to discredit and slander him. It is a sadly familiar tale.
Additional claims have been made that meetings between Stephen’s friend Duwayne Brooks – who was with him on the night that he was murdered by racists – his lawyers and police were bugged.
“I made my point quite clear. For the past 20 years the fact that we as a family have been talking about corruption and we have undercover officers trying to smear our family. I want answers. I want to know who was the senior officer who signed that off. We had no idea this was going on from 1993 until 1997.”
The Stephen Lawrence case is a prominent example of the injustice of racial discrimination and the injustice and distrust within the police force. However I would say that the Stephen Lawrence case and the family’s campaign for justice represents every single one of us and the ongoing fight for racial equality, It leads an example of Hope for unity within our communities and it is significantly important to today’s society and the way we move forward for the future.
The bravery that Stephen’s family have portrayed in their campaign is nothing but an inspiration to all. Not accepting defeat, staying strong and standing up for what they believe in.
Most of us have grown up knowing the story of Stephen Lawrence, whether you were born before, after or during the time of his murder – at some point you would have heard his name and the tragedy of events that took place all those years ago.
Stephen’s family have campaigned nonstop since 1993, in 1998 Stephen’s parents Doreen and Neville Lawrence set up a charitable trust (The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust) in their son’s name to help future generations of young people enjoy the opportunities that were denied to Stephen by his senseless murder. The trust is committed to supporting young people from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds
One of their most recent projects is a scheduled concert for Stephen Lawrence UNITY, held at London’s O2 Arena on the 29th September 2013, some of music’s biggest names unite for a special concert championing youth and social empowerment. The concert will raise funds for the Charitable trust.
As the enquiries into the Lawrence case continue, we hope for justice and Racial equality.
While nothing the police do anywhere should come as a surprise, as a facebook critic of mine has recently reminded me, not being surprised does not mean we should not be outraged and does not mean we should not act.
The following is from Organized Rage.