Socialist Worker

Police get licence to kill

Issue No. 1726

Police get licence to kill

'When a man honestly believes he is facing an immediate risk of suffering serious injury, even if that belief is mistaken, he is entitled to use such force as is reasonably necessary to defend himself.'

  • Crown Prosecution Service letting off the police who shot Harry Stanley

IN A shocking judgement on Monday the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced there was "insufficient evidence" to charge the two Metropolitan policemen who shot Harry Stanley dead. Forty six year old Harry was shot through the side of the head by armed Metropolitan Police in September 1999 virtually on his doorstep in Hackney, east London.

The CPS-which a fortnight ago judged that no officer was to be prosecuted for the death in custody of black Londoner Roger Sylvester-claimed that the police were within their rights to kill Harry. According to its ruling, if the police think that they might be in danger, or say later on that they thought they were in danger, they can level a 9 mm Glock pistol at you and shoot you dead, even if you actually present no danger to anyone.

He was unarmed. All he had in his possession was a wrapped up coffee table leg, which the police "thought" might have been a shotgun. The killing has devastated his family, who were not even told that the dead body lying next to their house was that of their husband and father. Harry's widow Irene told Socialist Worker:

"These officers that killed Harry can go home at night, back to their wife and children. But I've lost my husband-my children have lost a father, and my grandchildren a grandad. My husband was recovering from colon cancer. He could barely walk. They got away with it this week, as they did over Roger Sylvester. If anyone else had done what the police did, they would be standing trial now. The police are being allowed more guns, and they're getting trigger happy. This government should be protecting its citizens, but instead Blair and Straw just back up the police."


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Article information

News
Sat 9 Dec 2000, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1726
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