Monday, June 24, 2013

Out of control

In 1993 Stephen Lawrence was murdered by racist thugs. His family spent the next 19 years trying to get justice from a racist police force that didn't give a shit. And in retaliation, the UK police used undercover cops to spy on them:

A police officer who spent four years living undercover in protest groups has revealed how he participated in an operation to spy on and attempt to "smear" the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, the friend who witnessed his fatal stabbing and campaigners angry at the failure to bring his killers to justice.

Peter Francis, a former undercover police officer turned whistleblower, said his superiors wanted him to find "dirt" that could be used against members of the Lawrence family, in the period shortly after Lawrence's racist murder in April 1993.

He also said senior officers deliberately chose to withhold his role spying on the Lawrence campaign from Sir William Macpherson, who headed a public inquiry to examine the police investigation into the death.

The purpose of the spying? To discredit the Lawrence's campaign for justice and end its criticism of the police. It was not about preventing crime, or even preserving "public order", but about protecting the jobs and reputations of police officers.

The coercive powers of the state should not be deployed for this purpose. Those who approved their misuse in this fashion should be prosecuted for it.

(Meanwhile, also in the "out of control police" category: it turns out that the infamous "McLibel" leaflet, which led to the UK's most long-running trial was co-written by an undercover cop. Given that they were willing to spy on innocent people and frame protesters in an effort to silence the Lawrences, what are the odds they were willing to frame people for libel to bury Greenpeace?)