During the London riots in August 2011, the police lost control of parts of the city for four days, and thousands of people took part in destruction and looting that resulted in property damage estimated at least $50 million. A recent article in Social Forces examines the residential address of 1,620 rioters — who were arrested and charged in the London riots, to investigate potential explanations for rioting.
By Christine Piper
The riots which occurred in London and several other major cities early in August have provoked a debate, still on-going, around a range of crucial sentencing issues. Two developments have most interested me. First has been the tension between the government and the judiciary and, second, the apparent mark-up because the offending took place in the context of a riot.
By Leif Jerram
As we watch riots tear through the centres of British cities, many people have (instinctively and understandably) tried to see something of profound importance in them. For Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, they show why the budget for his police force should not be cut. For those on the left, the riots have been an essay in the perils of vacuous consumerism on the one hand, and shameless abandonment of the poor by the state on the other. And for our Conservative prime minister, it is confirmation that parts of our society are sick and evil.
By Bryan Fanning and Denis Dillon
The Tottenham riots in the London Borough of Haringey took place in August 2011. We examined three responses to them: reports by North London Citizens, an alliance of 40 mostly faith community institutions including schools, the Tottenham Community Panel established by Haringey Council, and the Riots, Communities and Victims Panel established by Parliament.
By P.A.J. Waddington
The academic long vacation offers the opportunity to catch–up on some reading and reflect upon it. Amongst my reading this summer was the special edition of Policing and Society devoted to contemporary rioting and protest.
By Adam Rosen
Sunday, April 29 marks the twentieth anniversary of one of the grimmest episodes in modern American history. For nearly five days, parts of Los Angeles transformed into a free-for-all where looting, gun battles, and arson proceeded without challenge by the city’s authorities. Only after U.S. President George H.W. Bush commanded 3,000 soldiers to occupy the city was order restored. By that time, 53 people had been killed, an estimated $ 1 billion worth of property had been destroyed, and the tenuous thread that held American race relations together had been all but severed.
1. The Philadelphia Election Riots, 1742
No reported deaths, several injured, one election lost.
Never piss off your bartender. That’s a time-honored rule understood by all regular drinkers. Obviously, this wouldn’t include Quakers Thomas Lloyd and Israel Pemberton, Jr., who had headed off to Philadelphia’s Indian King Tavern one election-day morning to see what they could do about defusing a potentially violent situation.
The fatal shooting of African-American teenager Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri during a police altercation in Augusts 2014, resulted in massive civil unrest and protests that received considerable attention from the United States and abroad.
By Ann Saddlemyer
There had been rumours for months. When Dublin’s Abbey Theatre announced that John Millington Synge’s new play The Playboy of the Western World would be produced on Saturday, 26 January 1907, all were on alert. Controversy had followed Synge since the production of his first Wicklow play, The Shadow of the Glen, in which a bold, young and lonely woman leaves a loveless May/December marriage to go off with a fine-talking Tramp who rhapsodizes over the freedom of the roads. Irish women wouldn’t do that!
By Susan Easton
In the wake of the recent riots, much attention has been given to the causes of the riots but an issue now at the forefront of press and public concern is the level of punishment being meted out to those convicted of riot-related offences. Reports of first offenders being convicted and imprisoned for thefts of items of small value have raised questions about the purposes of sentencing, the problems of giving exemplary sentences and of inconsistency, as well as the issue of political pressure on sentencers.
By Elaine Lewinnek
On 27 July 1919, a black boy swam across an invisible line in the water. “By common consent and custom,” an imaginary line extending out across Lake Michigan from Chicago’s 29th Street separated the area where blacks were permitted to swim from where whites swam. Seventeen-year-old Eugene Williams crossed that line.
By Nigel Young
Rioting in English cities can be written off as the same mindless looting and burning that spread in US cities such as Los Angeles in the past. (I’m reminded of the 1965 Watts riots.) But then as now, context is everything. In a simplistic analysis, a feral elite has bred a “feral” urban mob in a classic, centuries-old repetition of patterns of social discontent, bubbling to the surface in a sudden expression of blind undirected rage. The young, the jobless and the marginal, in particular, sense at least their displacement and invisibility.
By Scott Zesch
Today is the twentieth anniversary of the most recent Los Angeles race riot. On April 29, 1992, a jury acquitted four police officers charged with severely beating an African-American man named Rodney King. Within hours, protests in south central Los Angeles turned deadly. Outraged residents blocked traffic, attacked motorists, looted shops, and set buildings afire. The riot went on for three days. More than fifty people were killed in the nation’s most destructive episode of civil unrest during the twentieth century.
On 9 August 2014, Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson, Missouri (a suburb of St. Louis) Police Department, shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old. Officer Wilson is white and Michael Brown was black, sparking allegations from wide swaths of the local and national black community that Wilson’s shooting of Brown, and the Ferguson Police Department’s reluctance to arrest the officer, are both racially motivated events that smack of an historic trend of black inequality within the US criminal justice system.
By Brenda Stevenson
Those who followed the Trayvon Martin case this summer did so not just because of the conflicting details of the shooting deaths of these two unarmed black youth, but because these cases, like too many others, have played out in our public consciousness as markers of American justice. Does “liberty and justice for all” actually exist; or are these words from our Pledge of Allegiance just part of the grand American narrative that is more myth than reality?
By Louis René Beres
Seldom do our national leaders take time to look meaningfully behind the news. As we now see with considerable clarity, watching the spasms of growing sectarian violence in Iraq, the results can be grievously unfortunate, or even genuinely catastrophic.