Stuart Lawrence speaks out
As a young Black man, being stopped and searched by the police is seen by many, as just part of growing up. You just accept it. But should we really be accepting this?
Stuart Lawrence, the young brother of murdered Stephen Lawrence has had enough. He told the Daily Mail that he has been stopped and search up to 25 times “for no apparent reason and without any justification”. He believes the police are targeting him simply because of his skin colour, and because of this he has lodged an official complaint.
The latest incident came in November 16th Stuart was stopped driving his VW Scirocco near his home in Peckham.
This was the last straw for him because it turned out that there wasn’t any valid ground for them to stop him. The officers said they were “naturally suspicious” of him.
Stuart and others are convinced that they are being targeted by the police simply because of his skin colour.
"I am being targeted because of the colour of my skin, I don't think it's because I am Stephen's brother. Whenever I have been stopped, I have never subsequently been charged with anything, and nothing has ever been found to be wrong with my car.
I have never, ever, done anything wrong. I have never been in trouble with the law. I have paid my road tax and my insurance, and always tried to keep my cars in a roadworthy state.
Of the 25 or so occasions in which I have been stopped, only two have been at police checkpoints – where they are verifying people's tax and insurance. The rest have been random stops."
The data for ‘Stop and Search’ clearly shows that Black people are disproportionately targeted, In fact 26 times more likely to stopped and searched that white people.
I am glad Stuart has brought this issue up. Whilst I was growing up if anyone mentioned anything about stop and search methods being racist, you were instantly labelled a rebel or people often said “if you’re not committing crimes what’s the problem”?
Truth is the Black community, like any community want the police to catch criminals, but harassing teachers such as Stuart and other law abiding Black men neither catches criminals nor fills us with confidence that our police force can work for us, not against us.
Thank you Stuart for standing up to be counted.