The Guardian's CiF editors must have thought they were on to a winner and ticking all the right reader boxes with this piece from young Daniel Edu - The English riots one year on: 'I live in fear of being stopped again' - "I was there during the riots last August, and as a young black man my guilt was already assumed in the eyes of the law". So what had the poor lad done?
I'd left my house to see all the madness on TV in real life – it looked like history in the making and I didn't want to miss out. I'd followed others into a shop for five minutes and had no intention of stealing anything. I left of my own accord. Emptyhanded. "That's what people like you always say," the prosecution said. The judge told me he didn't believe me. My heart sank. As far as I could tell, for people like me, fate was already decided.
In the end he spent a month on remand, was charged with "dwelling with intent to commit theft and joint enterprise", was found not guilty, and discharged.
Sadly, the anticipated commiserations from the Guardian faithful, who might have been expected to express the usual outrage over institutionalised racism in the police force (yeah, we know what "people like you" means!) failed to materialise. Instead our young riot sightseer was roundly slagged off. He had, by his own admission, entered a store which was being looted...and he was then only able to explain the fact that his pleas of innocence were not immediately believed by - of course - police racism. Not, perhaps, the most sympathetic victim.
* The fact that you followed other rioters into a shop gives a reasonable cause for suspicion. I don't see how you've been hard done by at all, and it seems to me like you're whoring your race out in an attempt to gain sympathy.
* I'm not being funny, that's among the least convincing defences I've ever heard; surely you can understand how ridiculous that must have sounded in court? The magistrate almost certainly does hear that kind of defence all the time. Yet despite your incredibly flimsy defence, you were found not guilty. What is your issue exactly?
* Well, you've certainly got the victimhood rhetoric down to a tee, Daniel. Well done.
* Guardian, do you think you got it wrong with this one?
But one comment - and one comment only - has been singled out with a special "Guardian pick" label - "This comment has been chosen by a member of the Guardian staff because it's interesting and adds to the debate":
I've attended many demonstrations - some of them erupting into violence and damage - and never once been singled out by police in any way. This is because "people like me" are white, middle-class, middle-aged and female and our innocence is almost invariably presumed.
I have every sympathy for what you went through and am delighted that justice (albeit of a dubious sort) eventually prevailed.
Come on Guardian readers! This is what's expected of you!
Maurice Reeves, one of the owners of House of Reeves furniture shop, sits on a sofa outside his shop in Croydon, south London, which is adorned in a giant photo mosaic of young people holding positive statements to mark the first anniversary of the London riots, during which the shop was burnt down.]