Deaths in Custody

After the inquest into Mark Duggan's death, police are racist to the core

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The killing that sparked the 2011 summer riots has exposed the reality of policing of black, Asian and working class communities. Brian Richardson looks at the inquest and its aftermath.

The police and political establishment must have feared the worst when an inquest jury announced in January that they did not believe that Mark Duggan had a gun in his hand when he was fatally shot by police officers in Tottenham, North London, on 4 August 2011. Ultimately, however, they must have breathed a huge sigh of relief when the jury concluded that the killing was lawful.

Working for the clampdown - the police and the cuts

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These are troubling times for the police. The march against cuts by 30,000 off-duty officers in May took place against a backdrop of widespread revulsion at police involvement in News International's illegal phone hacking operation, a scandal which has already led to the resignation of two of the Metropolitan Police's most senior police officers, Sir Paul Stephenson and John Yates.

The Leveson inquiry has revealed the scale of collusion between police officers, government ministers and News International staff, providing ample evidence of police complicity in a deliberate cover-up of illegal hacking. It would generally be considered unusual for the police to wine and dine with suspected criminals. Yet Paul Stephenson met with News International chiefs 18 times in the course of the "failed" investigations into hacking.

Racism: a very British institution

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The conviction of Gary Dobson and David Norris for the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence was a moment to celebrate for all anti-racists. But, argues Talat Ahmed, institutional racism still lurks at the heart of the British state

The guilty verdict in the Stephen Lawrence case for two of his murderers has reopened a debate about racism in Britain. The conviction and life sentences handed down to Gary Dobson and David Norris for the murder of Stephen Lawrence was a moment of celebration and vindication for anti-racists throughout the country. Yet one fact conspicuous by its absence has been any serious consideration of institutionalised racism. This was the defining feature of the 1998 Macpherson inquiry into the police's handling of the investigation into Stephen's murder.

Black and fighting back

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The riots that happened last summer highlighted the gulf that exists between many young black people and mainstream black political figures. Brian Richardson and Mark L Thomas spoke to Weyman Bennett about the new mood of anger among black people.

“There is a significant change taking place among young people. The people involved in the riots generalised politically much more than in 1981 and 1985.”

But there were signs of this even before the riots, argues Weyman. The demonstration a couple of months earlier over the death of the black musician Smiley Culture during a police raid on his house attracted several thousand people - the biggest protest over a death in custody for a number of years.

Growing up with racism in Britain

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The threat posed by racists on the streets and fascists at the ballot box shows that racism has not gone away. Zita Holbourne, Weyman Bennett, Hesketh Benoit, Marcia Rigg and Assed Baig discuss their experience of racism and how to fight back.

"Let's tackle the roots of racism" - Zita Holbourne

Growing up in 1970s London, I was viewed as a strange phenomenon by many. Frequently my mother was told to "go back home" and called a "wog". People tried to apply labels to me and called me "half caste", "half breed", "half pint". Some didn't know what my race was but knew they disliked me because of the way I looked and called me "Paki", "Greek girl" and "Chinese girl".

Policing the police

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The Territorial Support Group (TSG) - the "public order" section of the London Metropolitan police - has been accused of 159 assaults over the past year.

The 730-strong TSG has also received more than 547 complaints regarding their conduct during the same period - 29 percent of which were for assaults, including, disturbingly, sexual assault. Despite the complaints, no officer has been disciplined for their behaviour.

State violence exposed

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The death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests in London last month has reopened the debate on police accountability. Filmmaker Ken Fero remembers those who have died while in police custody and his fight to show the truth with his documentary, Injustice

Ian Tomlinson's death on 1 April during the G20 protests in the City of London was tragic and his grieving family and friends are demanding to know how and why he died. Establishing the cause of death is just one of many painful experiences that they will go through in order to find out the truth. Like the families before them who have lost loved ones after coming into police "contact" they will now have to suffer the indignity of Ian's body having three post-mortems.

Nothing but Contempt

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As if the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes, the innocent Brazilian man shot at Stockwell tube on 22 July by the Metropolitan Police, was not shocking enough, the behaviour of the police since has been appalling.

Despite initial claims, Jean Charles was not wearing a padded jacket, he didn't run from the police, nor did he jump the tube ticket-barrier and there were no grounds for seeing him as an immediate threat.

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