June 19 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
The brother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence is to take legal action against the Metropolitan Police after claiming to have been stopped around 25 times.
Stuart Lawrence, 35, alleges officers from Scotland Yard have repeatedly targeted him as part of a sustained campaign of harassment.
The teacher has now consulted lawyers over the “ludicrous” police action.
He said he was moved to act after he was pulled over by two officers in November while he sat in his VW Scirocco near his home in Peckham.
When he asked why he was stopped, one officer told him the pair were “naturally suspicious” of him, he claimed.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: “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.”
He said he has been pulled over at police checkpoints - where officers were apparently checking drivers’ tax and insurance - on only two of the times he was stopped.
This was down to “no other reason, apart from racism”, he said.
Mr Lawrence, who is engaged with a two-year-old son, said he felt “angry and frustrated” and believed there had been little progress in the way police deal with black people.
His brother was stabbed to death by a gang of five or six attackers in Eltham, in 1993, at the age of 18. Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty by a jury at the Old Bailey last year, after a cold case review team discovered tiny traces of forensic evidence linking them to the murder.
The original investigation into his death failed to solve the case and was dogged by allegations of corruption and racism.
Mr Lawrence added: “A lot of recommendations were made by the Macpherson Inquiry but it seems that it hasn’t made much difference.
“I would like to know when things are going to change, when is there going to be a society where you are not pulled over because you are a black guy or a black person driving a particular car.
“The decision to stop someone in their car should be based on a sound reason, rather than the colour of your skin.”
A Met Police spokesman said: “Mr Lawrence’s complaint, which we received last night, is a very serious matter and it will be investigated thoroughly and speedily.
“Stop and search is an important tool to combat crime and is supported by the community if it is used professionally and fairly.
“Officers are accountable for their actions and it is therefore essential complaints such as these are fully investigated.
“The Commissioner has made it clear that he will not tolerate any form of racism in the MPS. Strong action will be taken against any individuals in the MPS if they are found to have acted in a racist manner.”
Scotland Yard is expected to refer the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).