This interview gives some of the background to events in Tottenham. We don't get much background in the establishment media.
[This is a transcript of a live interview conducted on Sky News earlier today with Stafford Scott, a community activist in Tottenham.]
Martin Brunt: "Stafford Scott, you're a leading member the community. You were here last night and watched things develop. What's your view of why and how it happened?"
Stafford Scott: "The reason I believe that it happened is that police paid disregard to the feelings of the family of the young man that was killed on Thursday evening. Up until now they haven't come and helped them or advised them. They haven't met with any family liaison officers at all. We were absolutely disgusted by that, so we decided that we needed come to Tottenham police station, because they may not be aware that a murder has been committed.
"We know that if they were aware that a murder has been committed, then their process, their legislation, their guideline, says they have to set up and send out a family liaison officer. And because they didn't, we came to the station. We came to the station to have a peaceful demonstration, and it was largely peaceful. And what we explained to the police is that we wanted someone senior from the police service to come and explain to us what was happening.
"They kept on prevaricating. The most senior person they gave us was a chief inspector. We said that person wasn't senior enough - we wanted a senior ranking officer of superintendent or above. Eventually they sent for a superintendent, but by then it was too late. We'd told them: don't prevaricate, we wanted to hear what was happening so we could explain to the community what was taking place."
Martin Brunt: "You said 'by then it was too late'. But are you suggesting that's why the violence erupted as it did?"
Stafford Scott: "I'm telling you that had they dealt with us earlier in the day, we would have removed ourselves from this area, we would have gone back to Broadwater Farm. I specifically told a chief inspector that we didn't want to be out here when nightfall came, we wanted to take it back to the Farm. And I warned him that if he kept on prevaricating and forced us to stay till nighttime - because we were intent on staying until a senior officer came - then it would have to be on the police's head what happened."
Martin Brunt: "You're almost suggesting that no lessons have been learned since 1985, although a lot people today tell us here that this isn't the same as 1985. What's your view?"
Stafford Scott: "Those people who tell you it's not the same as 1985 were not here in 1985. This is absolutely the same as 1985. 1985 was sparked by the death of a black woman and the police trying to cover up that death. The police were trying to suggest that she died because of her weight.
"Today they're trying to cover up Mark's killing as well. We do not believe that Mark was bad enough or mad enough to come out of a car and want to shoot at armed police officers. Our evidence, our information, is telling us that the gun that was found there was actually found in a sock, meaning that it wasn't prepared for action. So we can't believe that anyone would think they were going to shoot at somebody through a sock - it's absolute craziness."
Martin Brunt: "Those are the kind of answers you're asking for. Do you not accept though that sometimes it's difficult to be precise within 48 hours about exactly what happened?"
Stafford Scott: "Let me be absolutely clear. This is the borough where we have seen the deaths of Mrs Cynthia Jarrett, Joy Gardner and Roger Sylvester. Roger Sylvester's inquest took about four years to be held. So we know that nothing happens quickly.
"But, by God, don't our parents deserve the same as any parent? It doesn't matter what people want to say Mark was, when you talk about the army on TV, or a death that's happened in Afghanistan, it always says that you're not going to name the person until their parents have been informed. In this case here, their parents are reading about everything in the newspaper, they're seeing it all on the media. Nobody from officialdom has gone to them and said to them, 'Your child was killed on Ferry Lane.' Nobody has done that."
Martin Brunt: "If that damage has been done, how do you repair that damage now? Because the great fear is that there will be violent scenes again tonight. What can be done in the next few hours?"
Stafford Scott: "I do not believe that there's going to be any violent scenes here tonight. What happened yesterday was a combustion, a spontaneous outburst, because people saw we've been here for four hours. Women were leading the demonstration. The women said, 'Look, four hours - our kids are now tired, we're going home.'
"When the guys saw the women leaving, that's when they said, 'Wow. We've been here for four hours and nothing's happened. Nothing's changed. They haven't come to speak to us.' And then when they saw some police cars, which for some reason were just parked up unmanned, that was like a red rag to a bull, and they just had a go.
"I think that (a) if the police had been more responsive to us as a community, we would have gone and it wouldn't have happened, and (b) if the police had been more responsive at the first onset of violence, it may not have happened.
"But people need to realise a lot of things have been said. It's not the same as 1985? In this community, for these kids, everything is the same as 1985. If you look at all the stats, they're all the same as 1985.
"How often they get stopped and searched has actually gone up. Unemployment against young people has actually gone up since 1985. Getting kicked out of school is the same or similarly high to 1985. Nothing has improved for the livelihoods of young black people who happen to find themselves growing up on estates like Broadwater Farm."
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