Sunday, 7 August 2011

Tottenham 2011: the background from 1985

"On 5th October 1985, four Tottenham police officers entered the home of a Black woman, Mrs Cynthia Jarrett, and searched it. During the course of the search Mrs Jarrett collapsed, and soon after she died. 
   "On the following afternoon a demonstration outside Tottenham police station passed off without any serious incident. But during the evening and night of 6th October, a violent disturbance took place at the Broadwater Farm Estate, Tottenham. A police officer, PC Keith Blakelock, was killed.
   "Several buildings were set on fire, as well as many motor vehicles. Guns were alleged to have been fired at the police. Officers armed with plastic bullets and CS gas were deployed but not used. 
   "In a television interview, the senior officer for the North London area, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Richards, claimed that the disturbances were "the most ferocious, the most vicious riots ever seen on  the mainland". 
   "In the weeks and months following 6th October, police officers remained on the estate in considerable numbers, and raids were carried out by large squads of police upon dozens of homes."

Source: The Broadwater Farm Inquiry, Report of the Independent Inquiry into Disturbances of October 1985 at the Broadwater Farm Estate, Tottenham, Chaired by Lord Gifford QC.

Paul Coleman, London, August 2011

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