source: The Guardian
published: 12 June 2020
The callous killing of George Floyd resonated powerfully across all of Britain’s black communities, given our long-running issues with the police. But his death at the hands of four Minnesota police officers probably had more meaning in one part of the country than any other.
In Tottenham, north London, five black people have died at the hands of the police. There is my friend’s mother, Cynthia Jarrett, who died of a heart attack during a police raid on her home in 1985. Joy Gardner (1993) died after the police gagged her, and Roger Sylvester (1999) died after being restrained. Then there is Mark Duggan (2011) and Jermaine Baker (2015), who were both shot and killed by Metropolitan police officers. It has been determined through investigations in all these cases that the police officers had no case to answer for.
As with Floyd, the deaths of Jarrett and Duggan led to demonstrations and rioting, in the latter case sweeping across the whole country. It is ironic, then, that chief constables from across the country should have chosen to publish a statement of support for last week’s Black Lives Matter demonstrations:
“We stand alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified by the way George Floyd lost his life. Justice and accountability should follow. In the UK we have a long established tradition of policing by consent, working in communities to prevent crime and solve problems. Officers are trained to use force proportionately, lawfully and only when absolutely necessary.”
It’s just possible that some younger people within Black Lives Matter movement are under the illusion that policing in the US is more overtly racist than in the UK.