Socialist Worker

Campaigning exposed police racism

Issue No. 2284

When Doreen Lawrence asserted that no police officer had tended her dying son because they “did not want to get their hands dirty with a black man’s blood”, the reverberations shook British society.

Stephen was the third victim of racist murderers in south east London within two years. His killing took place 200 yards from where racists killed 16 year old Rohit Duggal a year earlier, and two miles from where Rolan Adams, 15, was murdered the year before that.

The Nazi British National Party (BNP) had just opened its headquarters in south east London.

The authorities, local and national, had refused to act against the BNP. When Stephen was murdered, people demanded action.

For weeks afterwards thousands protested against Stephen’s killing.

The Lawrence family and supporters launched a campaign for justice, and tens of thousands of people came together in a Unity March in October 1993. The police attacked the march.

The police had refused to go and arrest the racists who killed Stephen, but could smash into those who wanted to end racism.

But people would not let the issue drop—and the campaign in support of the Lawrences grew.

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