Under the Black Flag

More Crime, Fewer Cops

Some of you oldsters will never believe this, but London is no longer the place where The Blue Lamp and other black-and-white golden oldies were made.  During the postwar years, with rationing still on and the empire unraveling, England made some of the best movies ever.  They were intelligently scripted, underplayed, and beautifully acted by thespians who had learned their craft on the stage.  The one thing I remember was the portrayal of the fuzz: Cops were always shown as honest, polite, and trusted by John Q. Public.

Well, that was the movies, not real life—but was it?  Unfortunately, I am old enough to have lived in London back then, and the police were, along with the Church and the monarchy, an institution every British subject proudly looked up to as incorruptible and unique.  But times change, and so you can imagine my surprise when I read of something that took place in London during the last week of August, which is the reason I bring up The Blue Lamp and the fuzz of yesteryear.  Two bobbies, a male and a female, were trying to arrest a suspect, a powerful black man whose name turned out to be Nanikutomisa Mpelenda, age 25, in East London as a large crowd watched.  While the cops struggled, the largely white crowd cheered the suspect on with cries of “go on, son,” encouraging him to escape.  The man possessed a firearm; the cops did not.  He...

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