The role of the police in western society is beginning to be understood and challenged in ways that were inconceivable only a decade ago. The belief in ‘law and order’ and the infallibility of the police – or at least their role as a force for moral good in a system designed to uphold basic rights was deeply held.
But the deluge of state violence now routinely witnessed and shared has fatally undermined that belief system and exposed as being based on a set of myths. ‘Policing by consensus’ – the idea that you can only police a society if a level of good relations is maintained is under threat and new radical notions of abolishing the police system as we understand it are emerging.
How did this happen?
Police forces in the US and Europe work in different social contexts, with different histories and different gun laws, but for many years now people have witnessed and shared police violence and gained an insight into how they operate.
The way in which police officers restrained a man with drug-induced psychosis “more than minimally” contributed to his death in Luton in 2013, an inquest jury in Milton Keynes has found by unanimous verdict.
Leon Briggs, a 39-year-old father of two of mixed ethnic background, was a lorry driver and also taught computer skills to older people. His family described him as “a loving brother and father, caring and genuine”.
He was detained under the Mental Health Act and taken to Luton police station on 4 November 2013. Briggs died about two hours later at Luton & Dunstable hospital as a result of “amphetamine intoxication in association with prone restraint and prolonged struggling”, with a secondary cause of heart disease, the senior coroner Emma Whitting has previously said.
The police watchdog has dropped an investigation into three former senior Greater Manchester Police officers over their ‘command and control’ of an armed operation during which a father-of-two was shot dead.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said today two of three independent investigations arising from the fatal shooting of Anthony Grainger it launched have now concluded.