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Racism and discrimination


Racism and DiscriminationThe Macpherson report marked the UK police as “institutionally racist” two decades ago. But racism remains a visible part of policing: from disproportionate targeting and routinised harassment by police of black and minority ethnic individuals to the failure to respond in instances of racially-motivated attacks. As Jon Burnett argues, systemic violence and denial of justice is embedded in the criminal-justice system’s tendency to deny racism as a factor within crimes. Systemic racism is more than evident in the disciplinary policing of stop and search in the UK and stop and frisk in the USA. Black and minority ethnic individuals are vastly over-represented in cases of deaths in police custody in both countries. In the UK, the Independent Police Complaints Commission’s record of police collusion in investigating these deaths in custody includes failing to prevent police use of racist stereotypes to negatively characterise the victims of police violence. The scandal of police spying on black justice campaigns, including that by the Lawrence family, raises extremely serious questions about whether police have directed resources towards disrupting black justice campaigns—revealing not only their failings but their racism. As Adam Elliott-Cooper contends, this revelation demands a re-examination of how deeply institutionalised police racism may run in practice.

From Tottenham to Baltimore, policing crisis starts race to the bottom for justice

What is it about the police and urban black populations in the US and the UK? The explanation starts with two of the most stretched social hierarchies in the developed world.

Black deaths: still fighting for justice in the UK

Ken Fero's award-winning films about black deaths at the hands of the police in Britain record the continuing struggle to get justice. They have never been broadcast in the UK.

In search of security: "there to keep the peace"

Film: Testimony of the violence of a police-led eviction and experience of the policing which comes from racist stereotypes defining Travellers as 'criminals'. Part of the Whose Police? collection of interviews with citizens, analysts and activists around the world exploring the question: where does security come from?

Black justice campaigns prepare for new inquiry into undercover policing

It has recently emerged that the UK police have been spying on black justice campaigns for decades. Home Secretary Theresa May has announced a new judge-led public inquiry into undercover policing. Suresh Grover examines the revelations, and explores how black justice campaigns could mobilise around the inquiry.

The violence of denial

Twenty-one years since the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in South London, the criminal justice system maintains a reflex to deny racism. This amounts to the routine denial of justice.

Race, class and the price of policing

Metropolitan Police officers assaulted two protesters, then claimed they had been attacked. Video footage exposed their lie. One of the victims, this week awarded a £20,000 settlement, writes about police brutality

Doreen Lawrence, police spies and institutional racism

Allegations of police spying on anti-racism groups shed new light on the meaning and operation of 'institutional racism'. Here, Adam Elliott-Cooper reflects on the Stephen Lawrence Campaign and the MacPherson Report.

The numbers in black and white: racism in the policing of drugs

Each year the UK police are disproportionately stopping and searching large numbers of Black and Asian people for drug possession, amounting to mass police interference in everyday life. Is an answer decriminalising drug possession?

Unreformable: an end to stop-and-frisk in NYC?

Under Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelley stop-and-frisk has been a racist technology of control wielded by an unchecked police force. With large-scale popular mobilisations against police racism and violence, and de Blasio set to take over as mayor of New York City, reform of stop-and-frisk seems in sight. But is such a practice reformable? 

Deaths in British police custody: no convicted officers since 1969

827 people have died during or following police contact since 2004. Families have struggled hard for justice, encountering multiple failures and police collusion from the IPCC. Why is police accountability failing in this most serious of issues?

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