04-10-2020  1:41 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

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ENTERTAINMENT

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U.S. & WORLD NEWS

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McMenamins
By The Skanner News

LONDON (AP) -- The mother of murdered black British teenager Stephen Lawrence says she is still angry with the police for dragging her family through nearly two decades of agony.

On Tuesday a jury found two white men guilty of murdering Lawrence in a brutal racist stabbing that shocked Britain almost two decades ago.

Efforts to prosecute Lawrence's killers were marred by bungled evidence-gathering and, as a later inquiry determined, racist attitudes within the police.

Following the verdict Lawrence's mother Doreen said she was relieved that the men "can no longer think that they can murder and get away with it."

Speaking outside the court, she said that "mixed with relief is anger, anger that me and my family were put through 18 years of grief and uncertainty."

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

LONDON (AP) - A jury has found two white men guilty of murdering a black teenager in a brutal racist stabbing that shocked Britain almost two decades ago.

Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, were convicted Tuesday of killing Stephen Lawrence as he waited for a bus in 1993. The pair will be sentenced Wednesday.

The case - which has seen multiple court cases but no convictions until now - led to strong criticism of London's Metropolitan Police and resulted in an investigation that found that the force was "institutionally racist".

Michael Mansfield, who represented Lawrence's parents, praised the family's "huge dignity and persistence" they had shown in seeking justice.

Lawrence's mother Doreen said she was no longer angry but the sadness remained.

"In the early days I would be angry, definitely, but somehow I don't feel that anger any more," she said in a prerecorded interview with Sky Television News.

"The sadness is always there but the anger is not," she said, adding that anger "eats away at you and is not a healthy thing."

Dobson and Norris both pleaded innocent. When the verdict was announced Tuesday, Dobson said: "You have condemned an innocent man here, I hope you can live with yourselves."

Lawrence, 18, was fatally stabbed late on the night of April 22, 1993, as he waited for a bus in southeast London by a gang of white men,

His companion Duwayne Brooks said one of the attackers called out racist insults as he approched.

Norris, Dobson, and others were identified as suspects by police days after the murder but faulty handling of evidence meant prosecutors were unable to convict them until now.

Two men, Neil Accourt and Luke Knight, were charged with Lawrence's murder in June 1993, but were never successfully prosecuted.

The case has hinged on whether Lawrence's killers were motivated by racism. Dobson and Norris both denied in court that they were racist, but special investigators also installed a surveillance camera inside one of the men's apartments in 1994, capturing Norris in a racist tirade, in which he said he would torture and kill black people. Some of the men also acted out violent attacks in the video, stabbing objects with knives and pretending to stomp on their victims.

Lawrence's family won permission in 1994 to mount a private prosecution against five men. Two were released before the trial in 1996, and the remaining case against three men including Dobson collapsed in April 1996, when a judge ruled that testimony from Lawrence's friend Brooks was inadmissible.

The Home Secretary at the time, Jack Straw, ordered an inquiry into the murder. The report, written by William Macpherson, said the police had been "institutionally racist" in the way they had approached the murder investigation.

After Tuesday's verdict, Straw said the family had shown "extraordinary courage" in persisting in securing a conviction.

In this trial, prosecutors argued during the case that blood, hair and fibers traced to Lawrence were found on Dobson and Norris' clothes, proving their involvement in the attack.

Norris has previously been charged with two other stabbings - in one case he was acquitted and in the other charges were dropped.

More recently, Norris and his friend Acourt were jailed for 18 months in 2002 over a racist attack on an off-duty black police officer.

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