Another black man shot dead by the police

Another black man shot dead by the police in London

Paula Mitchell

Twenty eight year old Jermaine Baker was shot on 11 December during an alleged attempt to spring two convicts from a prison van in Wood Green, north London. He was sitting in a car and friends say he was asleep.

The police killing of Mark Duggan in 2011 sparked riots. It would appear that the police on this occasion are trying to avoid a similar result, holding a community meeting and starting a homicide investigation.

At the big community meeting the police were called “murderers” and “liars”. Anger was also directed at the press for the racist lies spread about Tottenham, where the Baker family lives.


The police and press like to get the smears in first. Papers like the Mail automatically called Jermaine Baker a gangster but actually the police have no evidence he had gang links. The police have arrested a different person for possession of what turned out to be an imitation gun found at the scene.

Tottenham MP David Lammy is expressing anger in his interviews to the press, but the reality is he himself was the brunt of it at the meeting, as the local community feel nothing has changed.

One family member said to the press: “Some people think nothing has changed, or things have got worse. It’s like the police shoot first and ask questions later.”

Promises of police wearing body cameras were made in 2011 but the officers concerned were not wearing them.

There is a long list of deaths of black people at the hands of the police in London. Campaigning for the victims and fighting against police racism and brutality – and for democratic community control over policing – will continue to be a necessity.

‘Discos and drugs’

Sitting cabinet minister Oliver Letwin has been exposed for his racist advice to the Thatcher administration.

The Tory policy chief, then an aide, blamed black people for riots sparked by brutal police repression. “Lower-class, unemployed white people lived for years in appalling slums without a breakdown of public order.”

Letwin even dismissed the idea of creating black capitalists, saying they would “set up in the disco and drug trade.”

The National Archives recently published the confidential 1985 memo under the thirty-year rule.

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 18 December 2015 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.