On Boxing Day 2003, David Bieber shot dead Ian Blakehurst, a traffic
cop, in east Leeds, northern England. Bieber is, Blakehurst was, white.
On December 2 2004, Bieber began a life sentence for Blakehurst’s
murder. Was his murder a gun crime?
Andy Beckett’s “Death in Woolwich” centres on Daniel
Williams killing Norman Francis in Woolwich, south-east London, on October 15,
2001. Beckett’s alleged theme is each death has outcomes, “aftershocks”.
They affect not only the victim’s family but also everyone involved
Twenty years separate the Ritchie and Rocky Bennett inquiries. Each
inquiry investigated the death of a black man in a psychiatric hospital.
But had governments implemented Ritchie recommendations, Rocky Bennett
inquiry might not have been necessary.
How does a service such as the Metropolitan police, famous for its
racism, goes about getting the public to believe its claims about links
between ethnic minorities and certain crimes? It gets the Observer,
a newspaper known for its liberal anti-racist posture, to make them on
If lord Reith is right and “news is the shocktroops of propaganda”
(Taylor 1999:336), then newspapers are the propagandist’s armoured
divisions. Last autumn three well-publicised shootings in Nottingham,
Hoddesdon and Leicester, undermined police stereotype of Jamaicans as
being responsible for firearms related homicides.
In 2000, the Tory attack on the “liberal-elite” was the
Metropolitan police first volley in its propaganda war to rollback Macpherson
(Hague, 2000). The “liberal elite” in question not only
consisted of columnists of the Guardian newspaper and its readers but
also those of the Observer (1&2). The Met has won those newspapers
to its strategy of demonising Jamaicans as criminals.