The latest instalment of Steve McQueen's anthology, Small Axe: Red, White and Blue, tells the true story of Leroy Logan.
The film, which is a standalone in the BBC's mini-series, is just a snapshot of the life of the man who was born in Islington, London, in 1957 to Jamaican parents.
Leroy graduated from Hackney Community College with a degree in applied biology, but gave up his potential career in science in order to join the Metropolitan Police.
He had been encouraged by some policemen that he knew to think about joining, and his professor had also suggested the move in a bid for him to utilise his outgoing nature. It has also been noted that Leroy was spurred on further after his father was assaulted by two officers (something that happened after his initial application).
As Red, White and Blue depicts, Leroy Logan (played brilliantly by John Boyega in the dramatisation) wanted to help bridge the gap between the police force and the Black community while also pushing for change from the inside. But it was not easy.
"The better I did [in the job], the more suspicious people were," Logan recently recalled, during an interview with the Guardian. "Why would this Black guy, older and a scientist, join the job? I had some good arrests. I found one lock-up and with that we cleared up almost all of the outstanding local burglaries. I was a late joiner; I wasn't messing around. But people were getting jealous. At Islington, someone in the secure area of the station daubed the N-word on my locker."
Logan also came up against barriers when it came to trying to advance his career within the institution. During the same interview with the Guardian, he described being told not to apply for a role.
"It was ridiculous. I think he was trying to undermine my confidence," Logan explained. "To me, that's how the micro-aggression side of it works. In the end I was promoted. I was in the top five of all the candidates."
Despite experiencing harassment and racism within the Met, Leroy's time in uniform spanned an impressive 30 years (he retired in 2013). He achieved a lot in that time, including establishing the National Black Police Association (which works to improve the environment for Black staff within the police, while also enhancing the quality of service to the Black community), contributing to the Damilola Taylor inquiry, and involvement in high-profile cases such as that of serial killer Kenneth Erskine (also known as the Stockwell Strangler).
Leroy was also involved in the publishing and implementation of the 1999 Macpherson report, which followed an inquiry into the handling of the racially-motivated murder of Stephen Lawrence. The findings were damning, confirming that the investigation had been "marred by a combination of professional incompetence, institutional racism and a failure of leadership" (via The Guardian). There were 70 recommendations made, designed to show "zero tolerance" for racism.
In 1998, in response to the Macpherson report, the BPA established VOYAGE (Voice Of Youth And Genuine Empowerment). The social justice charity aims to empower and support marginalised Black young people, while also strengthening their relationships with the police. Leroy Logan is the chair of this organisation.
Leroy is now 63 years old and a father to three children. He continues to advocate and champion charities and causes, as well as speaking out about the Met Police.
In October he warned that policing was starting to take backwards steps. In an interview with HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur (via BBC News) the retired superintendent said that he thought the culture in the police had "been hijacked by an extremely aggressive and intolerant group of individuals" and that austerity and changes in leadership had led to regression in the organisation. He has also spoken about the breakdown in communication and trust between communities and the police once again.
In 2000, Leroy was invited to Buckingham Palace to be awarded an MBE. His book, entitled Closing Ranks, My Life as a Cop, was published in September of this year. In it, he detailed his experiences and described his decision to join the Met Police as both his "biggest breakthrough and biggest nightmare".
Earlier this year Logan was present at the Black Lives Matter event in London, where he saw John Boyega's speech.
"It was great to see John Boyega and a new generation speaking out," he told the Guardian. "Great to see young people of all backgrounds and colours saying 'this is important'. That gives me hope."
In response to the BBC film, and dramatisation of his life, Leroy Logan has said (via Twitter): "Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought my life story would get to the attention of film director Steve McQueen, starred by John Boyega, and [be] part of the @bbctvcentre Small Axe series. You couldn't make this up and I've had to pinch myself."
Small Axe airs on Sundays at 9pm on BBC One, and is available to stream on BBC iPlayer around the same time.
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