Statewatch article: RefNo# 33241
New material: policing
PC Blakelock: black people are waiting for justice too. Stafford Scott, The Guardian, 25 July 2013.

Following the death of Cynthia Jarrett in a police raid on the Broadwater Farm estate on 5 October 1985, Tottenham exploded with anger, confronting the police in a riot that led to the death of PC Keith Blakelock. More than 200 people were arrested in relation to Blakelock’s killing, including the author, “the overwhelming majority without access to families or legal advice.” Six people were charged with Blakelock’s murder, three juveniles and three adults, Engin Raghip, Mark Braithwaite and Winston Silcott, leading to the formation of the Broadwater Farm Defence Campaign. The juveniles were acquitted while the adults had their guilty verdicts overturned after it was revealed that the police had fitted them up. At the appeal prosecutor Roy Amlot QC said: “Unequivocally, we would not have gone against Braithwaite, against Raghip, or against any other defendants having learned of the apparent dishonesty of the officer in charge of the case.” This officer (and others) was cleared of charges of perjury and perverting the course of justice in 1994 at a trial in which the main witness, Winston Silcott, was not even called by the crown to give evidence. Scott notes, by contrast, the persistence and determination of the state’s campaign to track down PC Blakelock’s killers, which after nearly 30 years resulted in the arrest of a man in July 2013. Scott observes that “While the police and Blakelock’s family speak about the need to see justice for the officer, we are left wondering what justice looks like; we have not seen anything resembling it.” He concludes: “The police had their opportunity to find Blakelock’s killers during the first investigation, but their corrupt methods and ineptitude blew it. While the force may be hoping the country has forgotten, the black community of Tottenham has not. It fuels our community’s mistrust of the police and judiciary, and has been passed down a generation. It is one of the reasons that Tottenham burned again in 2011. Ultimately, a community that cannot expect justice will always be prone to outbreaks of outrage.”

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Unwelcome Guests: Greek police abuses of migrants in Athens. Human Rights Watch, June 2013, pp. 58 (ISBN 978-1-62313-0237).

In August 2012 Athens police launched Operation Xenios Zeus, carrying out stops and searches aimed at cracking down on irregular migration. This report is based on 44 interviews with people who have been subjected to at least one stop, highlighting some involving unjustified searches of belongings, racist abuse and insults and, in some cases, physical abuse. Many people were detained for hours in police stations pending verification of their legal status. Between August 2012 and February 2013, the police forcibly took almost 85,000 foreigners to police stations to verify their immigration status, yet no more than 6% were found to be in Greece “unlawfully.” Many of those subject to Operation Xenios Zeus were stopped because of their physical characteristics and they “gave disturbing accounts of clear targeting on the basis of race or ethnicity.”

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Report of the independent external review of the IPCC investigation into the death of Sean Rigg. Dr Silvia Casale, Martin John Corfe and James Lewis QC (Independent Police Complaints Commission), May 2013, pp. 110.
This IPCC review was initiated after an inquest jury in 2012 found that police officers used unsuitable and unnecessary force against Sean Rigg, who died after being restrained and arrested in south London in 2008. Despite the inquest jury finding police officers failed to uphold Rigg’s basic rights and that their actions contributed to his death, an investigation by the IPCC had found that the same police officers had acted reasonably and proportionate>ly. This investigation makes clear that the IPCC made a series of errors in clearing the police officers. The INQUEST charity, which supported the Rigg family throughout their ordeal, commented: “The litany of failings identified in the report not only vindicate Sean Rigg’s family’s concerns over the IPCC investigation and police conduct but also point to the need for significant practice change for the IPCC, police and Police Federation. The test will be in the prompt and robust implementation of its recommendations. Both the interests of bereaved people and public will be better served by an IPCC that can hold the police to account for criminality or misconduct and help develop good practice and safeguard lives in the future.”

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Report of the Azelle Rodney Inquiry. Sir Christopher Holland, The Azelle Rodney Inquiry, July 2013, pp. 151.
24-year old Azelle Rodney was killed in Edgware, north London, on 30 April 2005 after Metropolitan police officers performed a ‘hard stop’ on the car he was travelling in. Rodney was hit by six bullets fired by an officer (identified as E7 at the inquiry) who discharged eight shots in just over a second. This report, by a retired high court judge, disputed E7’s claim that he feared Rodney had picked up a gun, and concludes that E7 had “no lawful justification” for firing the shots that killed his victim. The inquest’s unlawful killing verdict is unique in that a police shooting was found to have violated the right to life: according to solicitor, Daniel Machover, police planning failed to avoid lethal force being used, the force used was not reasonably necessary and was disproportionate. E7 now faces possible prosecution after the official inquiry’s conclusions.

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South Wales Police: Destruction of documents leading to the collapse of the R. v Mouncher & others trial at Swansea Crown Court on 1 December 2011. Independent Police Complaints Commission, July 2013, pp. 43.
This IPCC report examines the collapse of the trial of eight police officers (and others) accused of perverting the course of justice in their investigation into the brutal death of sex worker, Lynette White, in Cardiff in 1988. South Wales police initially issued a description of a white male suspect for the murder, but proceeded to charge five innocent mixed-race men who became known as the Cardiff 5, in a miscarriage of justice case that stands alongside the Tottenham 3, the Birmingham 6 and the Bridgewater 3. Three of the five men were convicted and received life imprisonment sentences. Their wrongful convictions were not overturned by the Court of Appeal until 1992 when it ruled that the police investigating the murder had acted improperly in extracting confessions. In 2011 eight of the police officers who worked on the original investigation stood trial in the largest police corruption trial in British criminal history. However, the case against the officers quickly collapsed when the defence submitted that copies of key files been destroyed and the judge ruled that the defendants could not receive a fair trial and acquitted them. It later transpired that the documents had not in fact been destroyed but were merely misplaced, to conveniently resurface after the trial was over. The IPCC investigation concludes that police filing errors were to blame.

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