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Human rights lawyer Michael Mansfield dropped the N-word live on Sky News today as he was brought on to speak about "institutional racism" within the police force.
The English barrister, who has represented the Lawrence family since 1993, recently appeared in a documentary about Stephen’s murder 25 years ago.
The 18-year-old schoolboy was stabbed to death at a bus stop by a group of white youths in an unprovoked attack.
The Lawrence family’s long struggle for justice exposed institutional racism and corruption within the Metropolitan Police.
Referring to the Archbishop of York’s recent comments that the police force is still institutionally racist, Sky News presenter Sarah Jane-Mee asked whether Mansfield thought he was right.
Mansfield replied that he thought he was right and said: "That’s why I’m saying it hasn’t been eradicated, it’s just that the threshold has gone up and police officers and public have been far more aware of these risks.
"Sometimes it’s not evident by somebody actually calling someone a c**n or a n***** or whatever phrase there is. It’s not as obvious as that."
Jane-Mee interjected and said apologised for the language he had used.
She said: "We do have to apologise for the language used – they are very offensive terms. I understand why you use them, to illustrate the point, but I do have to apologise."
Yet Mansfield insisted: "Those are terms that were used and still are used. And what we hope is that there will be a public reaction to this and institutions will recognise that it isn’t always phrased in that way.
"In other words, it’s subversive, it’s insidious and it’s the kind of prejudices that leads to a situation in which people are isolated and people are alienated. Particularly, the non-white population feel unwanted and it’s another form of racism."
But viewers watching Sky were shocked by his language and flocked to Twitter.
One wrote: "Michael Mansfield just dropped the N word and another racist word live on @SkyNews !!!"
While another commented: "Michael Mansfield on @SkyNews #sunrise talking about Police & institutional racism uses two terms that are highly offensive."
A third remarked: "Watching Sky News. Michael Mansfield was on. He was talking about Stephen Lawrence case 25 years on, and how he thinks society is still institutional racist. While illustrating his point, he uses two highly offensive words about black people – the bitter irony – I’m speechless."
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