10/04/81: Michael Bailey stabbed in Brixton

On Friday 10 April 1981 at around 5 p.m. a young black man, Michael Bailey, was stabbed in a fight in the Brixton area of suburban London. While running for help he was stopped by police officers who were then accused by other residents of having stabbed Bailey themselves and furthermore hindering medical assistance.

The incident is said to have been the spark that started the ensuing 'Brixton Riots' over the following weekend.

pic: guardian

Police harassment increased tension in Brixton when Operation Swamp ’81 was launched  in early April 1981. Police used the hated “sus” laws, which allowed them to search anyone they suspected of having committed a crime. In just five days, police stopped and searched almost 950 people, arresting 150. Black people made up just 6 percent of London’s population in the late 1970s. But 44 percent of those arrested under sus were black. Unemployment in the area stood at 13 per cent overall, and 25 per cent among the West Indian community. Half of young black men were jobless.

Flyer calling for an end to 'Sus' laws, 1981

sources: wikipedia, dailymail.co.uk
flyer pic: irr.org.uk

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