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The Stephen Lawrence affair

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  1. Who was Stephaen Lawrence?
  2. What happened to him?
  3. The reaction of the police.
  4. The reaction of the community.
  5. The reaction of the press.
  6. The concequences.
    1. The report of the Stephen Lawrance inquiry.
    2. The Stephen Lawrance Charitable Trust.
  7. The importance of the affair.

Stephen Lawrence was born in 1974; he was the first child of Doreen and Neville who emigrated from Jamaica in the 1960s. He had one brother Stuart and one sister Georgina. By the age of seven he had already resolved to become an architect. He lived at Plumstead, south-east London, which is a mixed community. Stephen had friends from different racial backgrounds. He didn't know what a racial incident was and he didn't see why the fact of being black may have endangered him. His family life was based on religious faith and education and he grew up with confidence in himself and others. In 1993 he was studying A-levels in English, craft, design and technology and physics at Blackheath Bluecoat School so as to become an architect and a local architect had already offered him a job. But Stephen was successful not only in the classroom. He loved athletics and once ran for Greenwich. Besides as a Cub, then Scout, he won an armful of badges for everything from cooking to sailing. And like others teenagers, Stephen liked going out, girls and music.

[...] Therefore the most important mistake that officers made in the inquiry, immediately after the murder, is that they didn't admit that Stephen was the victim of a racial murder. Professor Chris Mullard, chairman of Focus Consultancy, which has worked extensively with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), said the reluctance of officers to accept that Stephen's murder was racially motivated led to ?lots of missed opportunities?[4] in the investigation. Moreover the inquiry spent too much time and was not among the top- priorities of the police in London. [...]

[...] ?With Stephen Lawrence the police assumed that he and his friend Duwayne Brooks must have been guilty of something and they were not treated as victims?[10]. In the case of Anthony Walker the police said literally within hours that the attack was racially motivated. The one thing we must say about the difference is that the police have got much more sophisticated, more sensitive and more professional in handling racial murder. There had been significant progress to increase trust and confidence in policing amongst minority ethnic communities too. [...]

[...] The Stephen Lawrence affair aroused the terrible feeling of racism into the community. After the murder, the black community acted with disappointment, lack of understanding and anger against the police. Some black people had violent reactions, but the main behaviour was a huge demonstration of respect by commemorating the death of Stephen and by supporting his family. Racism killed my best friend Stephen. Racism also stopped officers from administering first aid while he was lying on the pavement. Racism also allowed the officers investigating this case to treat me like a suspect and not a witness. [...]

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