Neglecting Crimes of the Powerful: the Construction of Public Ambiguity Essay

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Why are the crimes of the powerful neglected in popular conceptions of social harm and criminal justice? ________________________________________________ In the early hours of 2nd June 2006 Mohammed Abdulkahar was shot inside his home. He later stated in a BBC interview that after sustaining this serious injury, he collapsed, completely incapacitated, still unaware of the shooter’s identity. He was then dragged by his left ankle down a flight of stairs while his 60year old father was punched as he lay on his bedroom floor in his underwear, because he didn’t understand English commands being shouted at him. Somehow, within hours of this terrifying event, the media were given to understand that Abdulkahar had been shot by his own brother. Although there is no evidence as to the ‘source’, we can safely assume it was not the family, who by this time were all in custody. What is known however is that two months after, coincidentally on the same day the IPCC issued its first report on the affair, the wounded man was suddenly accused of producing child pornography; a charge guaranteed to gain public attention, and another assertion later shown to be unsubstantiated. Such accusations, hastily made by the same culprits, always after the event, are regularly discredited. In July 2005 the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Force publicly identified John Charles de Menezes as a terrorist, after he was dragged from his seat on a London Underground train by two police officers, one who held him down whilst the other shot him six times in the head at point blank range. Had anyone else, including soldiers on active duty, been witnessed carrying out such attacks, they would then have been subject to criminal proceedings; as indeed has been the case several times during the present Iraq war. However, IPCC reports of the above ‘anti-terrorist’ incidents

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