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'Cohesion of black community is bigger than Mark Duggan'

VIEWS: Duwayne Brooks

AS MANY will know, I have had various unpleasant dealings with the Metropolitan Police over the years.

But I have realised it is counter productive for me or members of our community to stop speaking or working along side them. What we really need to do is have the correct community people around the table.

The police are always going to be needed to work for us and us for them, whether black or white, So, the idea that we must stop talking to the police because of the inconsistencies around Mark Duggan’s death is unhelpful and divisive.

We have seen too many cases where black people who could be vital witnesses refuse to speak up because they feel the police are the enemy. Which is why I partly disagree with the debate put up by some who say that “there will be a breakdown in relations with police” over Mark's death. We can not be a fickle community. To ensure safety in our community we can not allow incidents to build a wall of silence between us and the police.

Some of Tottenham’s community members who refused to attend a meeting with senior officers at Scotland Yard saying: 'It will be a waste of time,' were probably correct, but would it have been a waste of time to speak to Mr Duggan? The suggestion that Mr Duggan’s death is “now open season on young black boys in London”, is also saying many young black boys are rolling with guns. Both untrue.

Without a doubt, I sympathise with Mr Duggan’s family and friends as they have lost a loved one in awful circumstances. For commentators outside to say this case is a symbol of justice for the fight of the black community, is something I disagree with.

Yes the verdict of the jury is bizarre and yes the jury clearly disbelieve V53’s account, but let’s channel that anger, frustration and injustice and fight through the courts. Not deliver unprepared statements and act unprofessionally for the world to see. This case is already lost with mainstream media, While the corporate world laughs and says that’s why we don’t employ their sort.

Let's not forget who has suffered the most following the disturbances in 2011 that will be forever attributed to the Duggan family. Have you forgotten how mainstream media portrayed working class black people?

So to fight with the pen at least know some facts. Deaths in custody is not one that is unique to the black community. A watchdog report states that a total of 333 people have died in or following police custody over the past 11 years. Those who died in custody were mostly white (75 per cent).

As we start the New Year, let’s ask ourselves, are we doing everything we can as a society to empower, develop and value our youth? From the Government to the grass roots, we all have our part to play. It’s a collective issue that requires a wider more honest and open debate.

If the debate can start here and produces effective strategies and actions for the future, then Mark Duggan would have created in death a legacy that redeems his life.

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