You gotta hand it to Doreen Lawrence, there aren't many people who have taken on the mighty Metropolitan Police, but not only did she take them on, she reduced them - macho culture and all - to a quivering wreck. And she and her now estranged husband were paid £320,000 by them - well, by the taxpayer - for failing to bring her son's murderers to book. That sum includes - no kidding - £98,898 for loss of earnings caused by psychiatric illness, and £7,000 for trips abroad to relieve stress. Nearly a hundred grand in lost earnings? She was a dinner lady, not an engineer, but the psychiatric illness, well, there's no arguing with that.
Her son's killers have now been brought to book, perhaps, but at what cost? Two men are behind bars after being convicted by forensic evidence that was at best tainted, or even fabricated
, and, more importantly, a bus has been driven through the rule of law by the abolition of double jeopardy. And guess what, she is still not satisfied.
She was recently interviewed by the Observer
for the twentieth anniversary of her son's death, and as always it was one long whine. She was also interviewed for the Guardian
blog earlier this month when she made the classic comment
"If the police had done their job on the night Stephen died, nobody would ever know who I am".
So the police didn't do their job?
This drivel is parroted time and time again, along with the claim that the police were and are institutionally racist
, but what does this nonsense actually mean?
Stephen Lawrence was attacked by a gang on a well lit street on an April evening. There were plenty of witnesses, but as with any traumatic event, everybody saw something different. It is fairly certain that one of his attackers used the dreaded N word; does that mean the attack was racially motivated and nothing else? Certainly not. We still don't know if the victim knew any of his attackers, and if so was there any bad blood between them. Last year, Junior Nkwelle
was stabbed to death because he was perceived as having "dissed" a 14 year old girl. Guess what colour his killer was. Five years ago, Shakilus Townsend
suffered the same fate, he was lured to his death and murdered. Guess what colour his killers were.
This is the reality of this sort of senseless murder; race may have played a minor role, but for the most part these sort of gangs kill youths of their own age; when girls are targeted there is usually a sexual element to the attack, even if the violence is at times quite shocking.
One of the major objections made by Doreen Lawrence to the way the police investigated her son's murder is that they treated it as gang and possibly drug-related. He was murdered by a gang, and she objects to it being treated as gang-related - for real? As for the drug issue, no, it was not simply because he was black, this is what is known as a line of inquiry. No doubt Mick Philpott
was equally outraged that one of the lines of inquiry into the deaths of six of his children in a house fire was that he had started it.
Whenever someone is murdered, family, friends, workmates and neighbours are always suspects, indeed, Doreen Lawrence herself would have been a suspect in a very general sense, outrageous or shocking as that may seem, and again we may mention Mick Philpott.
Usually of course, most such people are eliminated very quickly.
It is easy to claim the police should have immediately arrested anyone whose name was put in the frame for the Lawrence murder, but this is not the way murder investigations work. What is truly amazing is while the complaints made by Doreen Lawrence were understandable - she was after all a grieving mother - that the same mistakes should have been made by Lord Macpherson when he produced his ludicrous report
with its insane recommendations.
Incredibly, in her Observer
interview, Mrs Lawrence takes issue
with the stop and search practices of the Metropolitan Police: "That is as true now as it was then. If I ever see anyone stopped on the street, it is invariably still a crowd of white policemen around a young black guy."
Wait a minute, wasn't her son stabbed to death by someone carrying a whacking great knife, the sort of thing against which stop and search is directed? So maybe they should stop and search white guys only? What about Opemipo Jaji, perhaps they shouldn't have stopped and searched him? After all, he only raped an eleven year old girl
Of course, in some countries, people carry not simply knives but guns. The recent atrocity in Boston overshadowed another tragic event in the United States, the execution style killing
of two men and two women in Ohio. Guess what colour they were.
Of course, if Mrs Lawrence insists our wonderful policemen are so racist
, she is free to follow her ex-husband
back to her native Jamaica where no doubt she will be greeted with open arms by the forces of law and order.
Before she does though, she might like to take a look at how the (black) police treat black suspects there. This poor bloke was on the receiving end of a very brutal summary justice
. And this is the way they do it in Nigeria
Let's be objective about this, Britain's police are far from perfect, but they are head and shoulders above most other forces. The suggestion they bungled or didn't treat her son's murder with the seriousness they should have because he was black is an unwarranted slur, as are most of the other ludicrous claims levelled against them by people whose agendas are far more sinister than hers.
Only this morning, the BBC correspondent Kurl Barling has written
about the 1981 New Cross fire: "Thirteen black teenagers died as a result and it has still never been fully explained." Perhaps it would have been if so many of those attending the party hadn't told so many lies
Yes, twenty years on, Doreen Lawrence still feels the pain of her son's murder, but we all suffer bereavement and grief. Look at this long list of teenagers who have been murdered in London
since 2005. Every single one of these deaths is an unwarranted tragedy, yet it is unlikely most people living outside the capital could put a name to any of their faces. Notice too how many of them are black, many of those especially were killed by the same sort of people who killed her son, not racists
, but gang members; this is the real problem in London, the UK and worldwide. It is a problem that has no easy solutions, and one that can't be solved either by legislation or by drowning the police or the white population in general in their own guilt.
Neither the Metropolitan Police nor the people of Britain are responsible for the death of her son, and it is time not only Mrs Lawrence but all the people who have been exploiting his murder for the past twenty years came to terms with that prosaic fact. There was no incompetence, and there was certainly no cover up, though sadly the same cannot be said for the death of Mark Duggan
nearly twenty years later.