A statement from the Black Power Caucus of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) on the verdict from the inquest into Mark Duggan’s death.
Azelle Rodney, Jean Charles de Menezes, Mark Duggan; these are the names of just a few of the people that have died at the hands of the Metropolitan Police, an organisation that is apparently there to protect the people of London.
To many people in the city however, it has always been nothing more than an aggressive and institutionally racist organisation, solely dedicated to preserving the unjust status quo, quelling any dissent and unafraid in using violence to do so.
The verdict given by the Mark Duggan inquest, that the shooting of an unarmed young black man on the streets of Tottenham Hale was lawful, does nothing but confirm this view.
The killing of Mark Duggan, and the subsequent injustice that came with the verdict, is in no way an aberration in the history of the Metropolitan Police or indeed any police service. Many black youngsters in cities like London feel nothing but fear and antipathy towards the Metropolitan Police, and justifiably so. A black person is on average seven times more likely to be stopped and searched by a police officer than a white person, despite strong evidence that, once stopped and searched, black people are no more likely than white people to be arrested.
The daily humiliation of being regarded as an object of suspicion, an object worthy of contempt, leads to the sort of anger that manifests itself in the shape of riots like those seen in London in 2011.
When young men like Mark Duggan are not only shot and killed by the police, but then the police are virtually acquitted of any major wrong-doing, it is hardly surprising that mistrust and hostility to the police still exists.
An armed wing of the state like the Metropolitan Police Service does not, and cannot do, anything to make people’s lives safer. A bourgeois state and its armed wings (and make no mistake, the actions of the police are as political as any government action) will however always target minorities, rather than face up to real issues such as economic inequality and youth unemployment.
Whether it’s by making black young men like Mark Duggan out to be dangerous “gangsters”, or by painting immigrants as a threat, or working-class people on benefits as scroungers.
With this in mind it is time to think hard about whether or not the police services in this country should even exist in their current state at all.