London will burn, if it fails to learn


IPCC Criminal Investigation into the Met Police shooting of Jermaine Baker.

There is rising anger in London’s black communities in the wake of the police shooting of Jermaine Baker in Wood Green, Tottenham and Nathaniel Brophy in Brixton. Both were shot by Metropolitan Police Officers.

This will have gone unnoticed by most in the media, our myopic politicians and London MPs. Police and community relations in London are now toxic and provide a potentially combustible and explosive environment.

Why so bad? Well as a direct consequence of the abolition of local Police Community Consultative Groups established by Lord Scarman in the wake of the 1986 Brixton uprisings; the use of the discredited and discriminatory law of Joint Enterprise; the rise in suspicious deaths in police custody of black men like Sean Rigg, Smiley Culture, Mark Duggan, Nathaniel Brophy and Jermaine Baker; a welter of race police complaints; the falling number and low rank of black officers in the service; all of these issues have led to dramatically falling levels of confidence of London’s black communities in a police service that remains 90% white in a city that is 50% Black and ethnic minority.

The simple unacknowledged truth is that London’s black communities’ relations with Met are today the worst they’ve ever been in the last 20 years.

Father of two, 28 year old Jermaine Baker was shot whilst alleged waiting to spring a couple of Turkish gangsters from jail. I am now being told that Jermaine was actually asleep in the car at time with two other friends who were both subsequently arrested. They heard a window being smashed and then a single shot. No one moved no one threatened the police, no one knew they were being targeted by police.

The press have reported that Jermaine ‘came out firing’ at the police after being challenged whilst sitting alone in his Black Audi. The press have also reported that Jermaine was a ‘close friend of Mark Duggan’ - this I’m reliably informed is utter BS but typical of the smearing of the suspect, that now routinely follows all suspicious deaths in police custody

In an unprecedented move, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) launched a criminal investigation. The IPCC is also said to have requested that the officer concerned be formally suspended.

In 30 years of civil right campaigning I have never seen such strong action taken by the IPCC and or its predecessor body the discredited Police Compliant Authority.

One can only assume that there must be compelling evidence that has led the IPCC to take the unheard of decision to launch a criminal investigation.

We now know that the firearms officers involved were not wearing the much-heralded technological saviours of Police/Black community relations, the world famous police bodycams. What this points to is the utter confusion about the policy of police bodycams.

The IPCC doesn’t have the technology to download bodycams video so are totally reliant on the Met for access. Secondly all Met Police officers, in particular and worryingly specialist firearms officers, do not routinely wear the body cams.

When the bodycams are worn and do work as we found out in the case of the August Brixton shooting of Nathaniel Brophy, shot on the Tilson Gardens Estate over a dispute over rent arrears and a planned eviction, the Police bodycams, were not mounted in the right the position by officers and in the case of Brophy much of the captured footage only managed to record officers boots.

In relation to the latest shooting of Jermaine Baker, the IPCC is now meeting London’s black communities and explain why they felt it necessary to take such strong action and what where the general circumstances that led to the killing of Jermaine.

Cindy Butts former member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, now an IPCC Commissioner must now engage with the local Tottenham community and Londoners more generally and explain what happened.

The key lesson of the London riots in 2011 was the need to ensure good communication with communities. What exists now is a glaring information vacuum

The absence of information in such a febrile atmosphere is a catastrophic error.

London is teetering on the edge of another riot. All the indicators are flashing red and an s usual the establishment is blindsided, constantly minimising or dismissing the problem and remains as if it has no clue as to the real level of anger out there.

All activists for justice such be on notice to attend the IPCC/Police community consultation on Thursday 17th December at 6.30PM Tottenham Town Hall, Tottenham Hall Approach, London, N15 4RW

You can keep informed by following @LeeJasper #JermaineBaker for more information.

Lee Jasper