Brother of Stephen Lawrence Files Harassment Complaint

London's controversial stop-and-search policy will be at the center of the inquiry.

Posted: 01/09/2013 01:46 PM EST
Stuart Lawrence

(Photo: REUTERS/Olivia Harris)

Stuart Lawrence, brother of slain U.K. teen Stephen Lawrence, has filed a racial harassment complaint against London’s Metropolitan Police Service for the 25 random stops he says he has endured because of racial profiling.

Lawrence, 35, said that an incident on Nov. 16, 2012, inspired him to file the formal complaint.

"I am being targeted because of the colour of my skin, I don't think it's because I am Stephen's brother. Whenever I have been stopped, I have never subsequently been charged with anything, and nothing has ever been found to be wrong with my car,” Lawrence told reporters.

"I have never, ever, done anything wrong. I have never been in trouble with the law. I have paid my road tax and my insurance, and always tried to keep my cars in a roadworthy state.

Lawrence said that of the nearly 25 police stops he has endured only two occurred at actual police checkpoints. The others have been random stops.  

The case of Lawrence’s brother, Stephen, is well known in the U.K. Stephen was killed in a racist attack by a group of white teens in 1993. Since his death, Lawrence’s mother has campaigned publicly to have her son’s killers brought to justice and remains an active voice in U.K. racial activism.

At the center of Lawrence’s racial profiling complaint is London’s stop and search procedure, a police tactic similar to New York City’s stop-and-frisk, which empowers police to stop and search anyone they feel looks suspicious.

"This is a very serious matter and it will be investigated thoroughly and speedily,” Metropolitan Police deputy commissioner, Craig Mackey told The Guardian. “Stop and search is an important tool to beat crime and is supported by the community if it is used professionally and fairly. Officers are accountable for their actions and it is therefore essential complaints such as this are fully investigated."

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