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'Black people still treated as second-class citizens' says Stephen Lawrence's father
10 June 2020, 08:03
Black people are still treated as second-class citizens in Britain and the police are still institutionally racist, Stephen Lawrence's father has said.
Dr Neville Lawrence has thrown his support behind Black Lives Matter protests in the UK following the killing of George Floyd in the US.
His son was killed in a racist attack by a gang of white youths in south-east London aged 18 in 1993.
In an interview with The Guardian, Dr Lawrence said the global demonstrations were necessary because people of colour were still being treated as second-class citizens "not only in this country but all over the world".
He said the protests were much-needed but that he was concerned protesters could increase their risk of contracting coronavirus.
Dr Lawrence added: “They have made a decision to put themselves at risk to show their displeasure at what’s happening.”
After the original police investigation into Stephen's death was hampered by prejudice, incompetence and alleged corruption, the subsequent Macpherson Report into the 18-year-old's case concluded the police were guilty of "institutional racism".
Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick last year declared this was no longer true, saying "this is an utterly different Metropolitan Police."
But Dr Lawrence said he believes promises of police reform following the Macpherson Report have not been kept.
He said: “I thought when they came out they would be respected and done in quick time, so people can see they are making the force more fair.
“It was not done in quick time, it’s not been done, I don’t know when it will be done – we should not be talking about it 21 years later.
“They have fallen way, way short. Twenty-one years short.”
Dr Lawrence added he "totally" disagreed with Dame Cressida's comments, citing 2019 figures showing the Met stopped and searched more black people than white, despite black people comprising just 12% of London's population and white people 59%.
"I totally disagree with her," he said.
"Yes, the police are institutionally racist."