Blair Peach “almost certainly” killed by police
Anti-fascist activist Blair Peach was “almost certainly” killed by police, according to a police report released after 31 years. Blair, a teacher and member of the Socialist Workers Party, died on a demonstration against the Nazi National Front in Southall in 1979.
The report, by Commander John Cass, was only released after a sustained campaign of pressure on the Met Police. It confirmed what campaigners have known for years - that Blair Peach was killed by police officers of the Special Patrol Group (SPG) who then proceeded to cover up their actions. That the report was kept under wraps for so long illustrates the level of collusion at the highest levels of the Metropolitan Police in denying justice to Blair and his friends and family. There will be no charges brought against any SPG officers, despite the report directly implicating them in Blair’s killing. The six officers involved were Alan Murray—now a lecturer in corporate social responsibility at Sheffield University—Anthony Richardson, Raymond White, Michael Freestone, James Scottow and Anthony Lake.
Sir Paul Stephenson, the Met commissioner, has spoken about his “regret”, but went on to say that it is “important to remember that the majority of these documents were produced 30 years ago and that they reflect the way policing was rather than is.” But it was only last year at the City of London G20 protests than a police officer from the Territorial Support Group (TSG) – the rebranded SPG – attacked bystander Ian Tomlinson as he made his way home. The investigation into Ian’s death has grim parallels with that of Blair’s 31 years before.
Despite hundreds of deaths in police custody since Blair Peach was killed, no officer has ever been found guilty of murder or manslaughter. We must continue to fight for justice to all those who have died at the hands of the police, and defend the right to protest against the savagery of the system.