Stephen Lawrence's brother to sue Met for discrimination

Stuart Lawrence claims he has been targeted  by police officers in  harassment campaign

Scotland Yard was facing a fresh race controversy after Stephen Lawrence’s brother launched legal action saying he had been stopped up to 25 times because of his skin colour.

Stuart Lawrence, 35, a teacher, claimed that Metropolitan Police officers had repeatedly targeted him during a sustained campaign of harassment. Mr Lawrence, whose teenage brother was killed in a racist attack by a gang of white youths in 1993, decided to act after two officers pulled over his car in November last year near his home in Peckham, south London.

He said one officer told him he was “naturally suspicious” of him. “I am being targeted because of the colour of my skin, I don’t think it’s because I am Stephen’s brother,” he told the Daily Mail.

“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. 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.”

He said he has been stopped around 25 times but was pulled over at police checkpoints – where officers were apparently checking drivers’ tax and insurance – on only two of these occasions.

A letter of complaint naming the two officers was sent to the head of Scotland Yard, Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe, on Tuesday. The force has called on the independent police watchdog to consider the case, which is currently deciding if it will handle the complaint.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: “Mr Lawrence’s complaint… is a very serious matter and it will be investigated thoroughly and speedily. Stop and search is an important tool to combat crime and is supported by the community if it is used professionally and fairly.

“The Commissioner has made it clear that he will not tolerate any form of racism in the MPS. Strong action will be taken against any individuals in the MPS if they are found to have acted in a racist manner.”

Community leaders have identified the tactic as one of the main reasons for toxic relations between young black men and the police. Research from the Equality and Human Rights Commission last year found that forces were up to 28 times more likely to use stop-and-search powers against black people than white people. The Met used the tactic more than any other force.

The campaign by the Lawrence family to secure justice for the murder of the 18-year-old aspiring architect in Eltham, south-west London, resulted in a public inquiry that found the force “institutionally racist” and led to a major shake up of policing.

But Dr Richard Stone, a member of the Macpherson inquiry panel, has been critical of the force’s failure to radically improve its monitoring of searches.

Under legislation intended to tackle football hooliganism, police have wide-ranging powers to stop and search people which have led to accusations that the tactic has been abused by officers.

“I’ve never heard of any white person being picked on that often,” Dr Stone said yesterday. “Mr Hogan-Howe has says he is very committed to stopping this discrimination. I very much hope he is going to do something positive about it.”

Two members of the white gang who killed Stephen Lawrence were convicted of murder last year after advances in forensic research.

The prosecutor in that case, Mark Ellison, QC, is conducting a review of the case after complaints by the family that police corruption effectively shielded some of the killers from justice.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Sport
football
News
i100
Life and Style
Virtual reality headset: 'Essentially a cinema screen that you strap to your face'
techHow virtual reality is thrusting viewers into frontline of global events and putting film-goers at the heart of the action
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required ASAP In Uminster

£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wimbledon, SW London

£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness