Fear on London Streets 18 Years After Racist Slaying

Flowers at the Stephen Lawrence memorial in London (Carl Court/Getty Images)
Flowers at the Stephen Lawrence memorial in London (Carl Court/Getty Images)

In a blog entry at NBC, Jason Jouavel writes about the conviction and sentencing of two men in the racially motivated killing of Stephen Lawrence in 1993. Nearly two decades later, Jouavel still feels anxious walking through certain streets in Eltham after dark.


Lawrence, 18, was stabbed to death by a gang of white youths in an unprovoked attack as he waited at the bus stop in Eltham in 1993. The investigation was bungled and despite multiple court appearances by suspects over the years no one was convicted until Tuesday.

At least three people involved in Lawrence's slaying remain at large and to this day a notable lack of local people have come forward with information about what happened.

Duwayne Brooks, who was with Lawrence at the time of the attack, told investigators that they had been racially abused before the stabbing. However, police initially treated Brooks like a suspect — as opposed to a key witness.

The crime also resulted in a 1999 public inquiry that branded London's Metropolitan Police force as "institutionally racist." …

Many young black men in London complain about being prejudged and stereotyped. 

I was astonished when a well-educated acquaintance told me she thought that black people should be stopped because they commit most crimes as we casually discussed last summer's London riots. I wonder whether this is also the view of some police officers.


Read Jason Jouavel's entire blog entry at NBC.