Report by Incubus:
I was at the vigil today, and one member of the family of a police-murder victim said that one inquest into the man’s death was abandoned because the wife of one of the cops involved in the death was on the jury…(forgive me, but I can’t remember if it was Sean Rigg or Roger Sylvester, it’s been a long day, maybe someone can put me right?)
The vigil itself was as dignified and as angry as you’d expect. Sadly it was over-run by trot banners which meant people couldn’t see the speakers on the steps of the cop shop properly-the SWP had two stalls, along with the Worker’s Hammer and Socialist Alliance I think. The usual embarassing lack of an organised anarchist presence was notable.
The family speakers were great and fucking brave given that they have been thrust into that position. Most of the speaking was done by Stafford Scott, a man I have alot of respect for, because he never claims the spotlight for himself, or makes any political capital out of police murders. He spoke about the community across the country resisting the smears of the press and the weight of the establishment- though unfortunately he never puts this in a class context, presumably not to alienate the press and middle class sympathies.MP Lammy was completely absent, and everyone there jeered the fact, though Diane Abbott put in a last minute ‘vote for me’ appearance at the end (to mollify her own constituents I guess). A son from the Hillsborough Families Campaign also spoke as well as the local Turkish/Kurdish Community (Day-Mer). Lee Japser was lurking about, along with sundry elements of Labour’s old Black Bourgeois Caucus.
There was between 200-400 people there, a very mixed crowd, hoards of press baying for trouble, whereas the OB were virtually absent, the side streets were packed with TSG, Dog Units and no doubt some Armed Response Units. The Tottenham Town Hall looked like a Police barracks, with their car park used as a staging area.
What I found really interesting were the youth who stood across the street, against the wall, many masked up, and at one brief point, it looked like the very genuine anger might have blossomed into something else. It’s obvious that none of these guys felt in any way represented by any community leaders, the like of Nims Obunge or the man from Operation Blackvote. The gulf was there for all to see,hear and feel. A group of hooded young guys next to me who were smoking a spliff and listening to the speakers with interest, made their discomfort and distrust of the christian ‘Street Pastors’ that they have in Tottenham very plain- mainly due to the fact that they working so closely with the cops (the lot of them in bloody uniforms like PCSOs-literally GodCops).
It’s striking that the very pure anger of ‘death in custody’ families is always moderated by other ‘respectable people’, and is actually always faithfully mirrored by those who take the full brunt of police harassment, violence and intimidation. The same people the moderates want to ‘stay calm’. It’s that anger that is always coralled, contained and forcefully guided into the legal and judicial path- which so often is clearly a dead end as far as any real justice is concerned. Black and Working class anger is only ever permitted if it is refracted through the lens of middle class ‘decency’, the proprieties of having respect for the law and for private property- the twin pillars of the blood stained altar of the social order.
Having said that, thhe best of luck to the Duggan Family in their struggle to find the truth in a city of lies.
Like a man in the crowd said; ’500 years on, and they’re still killing black people, you get me?’-
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