economic climate, and various political austerity measures related to education and public services. In addition, Mr. Featherstone noted, residents of Tottenham had a preexisting ingrained mistrust of law enforcement, related to perceived injustices and deaths in police custody over the previous decade. Mr. Featherstone also showed several video clips and commented on the sense of relief and anticipation expressed by participants of the violent acts that followed the initial event. Notably, many of the organizers and participants belonged to groups with traditional rivalries, which were set aside in these events. Following the burning of the cars, violence spread throughout Tottenham, London, and then other parts of the United Kingdom over the next several days. Mr. Featherstone noted that rioters were diverse and did not fit the “traditional” image.
Calls to commit violence were sent via social media to those within close geographical proximity as well as those in other locations outside the United Kingdom. Footage of the rioting and looting was shown constantly on television, and made headlines in major newspapers. Violence spread through the country for 5 days, and then subsided as police presence in the streets ramped up significantly, and large numbers of arrests were recorded.
Through video clips and his own reflections, Mr. Featherstone painted a complex story of not just violence throughout the country, but a sense of resentment, frustration, and inequality that had bubbled over. Previously that year, large antiausterity protests had been held, with little to no relief presented. In one map he showed, there was strong geographical correlation between the violent incidents and areas of deprivation. While gang violence was cited as a major factor in the violence, Mr. Featherstone argued that only a small number of rioters were members of gangs, and even then they behaved in ways not typical of gang rivalries. Throughout his presentation, Mr. Featherstone echoed a number of elements that had been noted previously by other speakers, specifically the importance of the social context, the dynamics of groups, the emotional response to witnessing violence, and the potential for epidemics to peak and then decline, in describing the complexities of this event.
In discussing potential interventions to reduce violence related not just to the riots, but the preexisting social and economic conditions, Mr. Featherstone noted the importance of empowering individuals to not identify as victims or perpetrators. He also noted the importance of developing community—law enforcement relationships to build trust. He stated, for example, that in the case of Mark Duggan, some of the immediate incendiary violence might have been prevented if police had spoken to the family and conveyed a sense of working with the community. Speaker and planning committee member Charlotte Watts of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine shared concerns that while interruption programs reduced street violence, they did not address the underlying issues that