Although a civil matter between the protesters and property developer Roger Wratten, events over the last few months on Broadway Market, E8 have involved the Metropolitan police on a number of different occasions.
1. Telephone numbers and names of supporters were written down by a police officer at the first eviction on December 21.
2. Constant 24-hour CCTV monitoring on 34 Broadway Market.
3. Police presence on the picket of the Town Hall on February 1. This included filming of protesters. Subsequent gatherings at the Town Hall have met with a similar police response.
4. In the region of close to 100 police officers were used to evict the occupiers in the early hours of Thursday February 23, many of whom were dressed in riot clothing. There were exactly four people present inside at the time, including one person who was elderly and disabled. The whole operation was personally directed by the Borough Commander and Scotland Yard.
It has to be remembered that the protesters involved did not espouse violence, engage in violence and even made great claims to highlight the peaceful, but determined nature of the event.
During the whole 3 months of occupation NOT ONCE were the police called to 34 Broadway Market for reasons such as noise disruption or unruly behaviour. The whole campaign was extremely well-organised.
The role of the police in this whole episode can only be down to the criminalisation of political activity, or, more sinisterly, political activity itself warrenting such attention by the police.
Our point to the Metropolitan police is this: stop whinging about lack of police officers when you are wasting resources and manpower on a campaign like has happened on Broadway Market.
Hackney resident Harry Stanley was gunned down by police in 1999 near Victoria Park. Since then his family have campaigned for justice. The latest news might bring that nearer. Below is a story taken from the Guardian website. The Harry Stanley campaign can be contacted at: Justice for Harry Stanley, PO Box 29644, London E2 8TS.
Nick Hopkins, crime correspondent
Tuesday April 8, 2003
The family of an unarmed man shot dead in a London street by police officers won the right for a second inquest yesterday, following a high court ruling which quashed the open verdict of the first. Harry Stanley’s relatives argued that the original hearing was flawed because the coroner, Stephen Chan, had prevented jurors from hearing certain expert witnesses and would not allow them to consider that Stanley had been killed unlawfully.
A father of three, Stanley, 46, was shot twice by specialist firearms officers as he walked home from a pub in Hackney, east London, in September 1999. He was carrying the leg of a coffee table in a tightly-wrapped plastic bag. The two officers have said they thought he was carrying a sawn-off shotgun. The officers also claimed he grasped one end of the table leg into his body and pointed the other at an officer, making it look like a shotgun. Last year’s inquest, however, heard forensic evidence indicating Stanley was facing away from the officers when he was shot in the head and hand.
In December 2001 the crown prosecution service ruled that, while the officers had been negligent, there was insufficient evidence to bring charges. Yesterday Tim Owen QC, appearing for Stanley’s widow, Irene, told the high court it was now accepted by the police that the original inquest was flawed and a new investigation should take place. Dr Chan, the Inner North London coroner, had wrongly prevented jurors from hearing from expert witnesses and should have allowed them to consider a verdict of unlawful killing, he said. Mr Justice Silber told the court he would quash the verdict of the original inquest and order a second. Outside the court, Mrs Stanley said: “I am just pleased that we have got a fresh inquest and we have a new coroner as well.”
Deborah Coles, co-director of the pressure group Inquest, said: “We are encouraged by the fact that [the judge] is taking this very seriously. “Obviously the case has big implications for other controversial cases involving the use of state force.”