INNOCENT: Protesters outside the Old Bailey during the trial of Nicky Jacobs for the murder of PC Keith Blakelock for which he was acquitted
UNTIL THE murderers of PC Keith Blakelock are behind bars, the British police will continue harassing, haranguing and hassling black men - young, old and new born. That's the price we have to pay for the murder of a policeman on “our watch.”
The Force's response to the acquittal of Nicky Jacobs last week for the “barbaric" killing of PC Blakelock in the Tottenham riots of 1985 only barely constrained the words: Someone has to pay.
“It was a barbaric act..." said Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley in an interview on BBC radio.
“Let's not forget it was a barbaric killing..." he reminded us a few moments later.
“This was such a barbaric murder..." he continued in his next response.
Okay AC Rowley, we get the point. Somehow this killing, attributed (without any reliable evidence to a 'black mob') was somehow more heinous and uncivilised than any other murder. Much more savagely cruel than when a man stabs his wife 100 times. Much more primitive and unsophisticated than when an armed policeman’s bullet bores a hole through the head of an unarmed man. A killing like this, you're saying, Mark Rowley, can only have been carried out by uncultured people lacking civilising restraints and with no taste or style in the manner of murder.
Of course the word ‘barbaric' comes from the Greek word for ‘barbarian'. In Ancient Greece anyone who wasn't Greek was a barbarian. And so it was for the Romans. Anyone who was not born of Rome - the English and the Scots (especially the Scots) were barbarians and their lifestyles were barbaric.
Then when the colonisers made their infamous incursions into Africa in the 15th century, guess what they called us?
Until today this tag lingers over that which is the most authentically African.
Our art is often defined as ‘primitive', which is just another word for ‘barbaric.’ When our music is too heavily dependent on drumming it is considered less cultured than the so-called classical music that sends you to sleep. And when we get up and dance to it, our contortions and gyrations are regarded by the elevated critics of the Western world as unsophisticated in comparison to the Royal Ballet. All different ways of saying the same thing: barbarism.
It's become so ingrained that we have become ashamed of our ‘barbaric' roots. Many black Britons can't shun everything about themselves that could be regarded as African fast enough - their upbringing, their culture, their lifestyles, their colour, their partners. The rest of us who don't shed our roots, our culture and our black partners are the barbarians. It is us, and not the neutered black men who are responsible for PC Blakelock's death. But all of us will have to pay.
That fact is not lost on new police recruits who are taken to the police museum's house of horrors to witness for themselves the police overalls that PC Blakelock wore on that fateful night in Tottenham 29 years ago, with the holes of over 40 knife stabs visible.
It tells its own story. But it doesn't tell the full story of who did it and the police's culpability in Blakelock's death and the subsequent bungled investigation which included fabrication of witness statements because all that mattered was someone had to pay and anyone would do as long as they fitted the definition of a barbarian or a member of a ‘black mob'.
‘Someone (black) will have to pay’ must go through the mind of every police recruit shown that bloody overall. Even though from the recent court case we now know that white men have confessed to kicking and punching (and who knows what else they were doing) PC Blakelock as he lay on the ground.
Imagine what goes through the mind of every black recruit.
Also imagine what goes through the mind of PC Blakelock's wife and his now grown-up sons who I truly feel dreadfully sorry for. They have been used and abused by the police force they have put their trust in. But this force is only interested in making sure that someone fitting the right description will have to pay, whether they are innocent or not and whether or not the Blakelocks have to sit through the most farcical trial that this country has ever witnessed.
I did not murder PC Keith Blakelock. I was not there when he was murdered and I do not know who murdered him. I am innocent and yet, I will have to pay like the rest of us because it happened on “our watch" and the police will keep on harassing us and haranguing us and hassling us until one, if not a 'mob' of us, pays for the murder of PC Keith Blakelock.
Sadly, for the Blakelock family and for us, that day will never come.