Lawrence's witness sues police chief

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The Independent Online
THE BLACK man who was with Stephen Lawrence when he was stabbed to death is suing the Scotland Yard Commissioner, Sir Paul Condon, for negligence and 15 of his officers for discriminating against him because of his colour.

Duwayne Brooks, 24, is also taking civil action against the Crown Prosecution Service, claiming it breached the Race Relations Act by failing to give him the same quality of service that it would have given a white person.

The action for damages against the Metropolitan Police relates to alleged psychiatric injury Mr Brooks claims he suffered as a result of the murder investigation's failure to treat him as a primary victim of the crime and the "racial stereotyping" of him by police officers during the inquiry.

Mr Brooks was with his friend Stephen when they were attacked by a gang of racist thugs in April 1993 at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London. The police were criticised in Sir William Macpherson's inquiry report, published in February, for failing to give Mr Brooks proper attention and help at the scene of the crime and later in hospital.

The officers being sued include those first at the murder scene and police involved in the investigation. Mr Brooks said in a statement yesterday: "The main reason for doing this is that I do not want anyone to go through what I went through. There have been a lot of expressions of regret by the police but nothing seems to have been done. The Macpherson report highlighted the failure of the police but the Commissioner has failed to take any effective action against these officers despite saying he would improve things."

Since the inquiry Mr Brooks has complained of police harassment and claims he has been stopped and searched by the police six times this year.

The 15 officers and the CPS are being sued for breach of duty under the Race Relations Act for failing to provide Mr Brooks with the same quality of service that would be provided to a white man. The action against Sir Paul is one of negligence for failing to ensure his officers acted properly.