Leroy Logan: Who is Leroy Logan in Small Axe?

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BBC series Small Axe continues this week with the hard-hitting film Red, White and Blue. The third film in the anthology series looks at institutional racism within the Metropolitan Police Service and one man’s fight to change this. Express.co.uk looks at the episode and the man the heart of Red, White and Blue: Leroy Logan including insight from actor John Boyega.

Who is Leroy Logan in Small Axe?

Leroy was one of the first black officers to join the Metropolitan Police Service back in 1983 after his father Kenneth was hospitalised after a brutal assault at the hands of two policemen.

Lorry driver Kenneth was parked in north London when the two officers claimed he was blocking the highway. Kenneth tried to measure the distance after he believed he wasn’t doing anything wrong.

What followed next was a horrific and very public attack on Kenneth in the middle of the street, who ended up with injuries to his face including two black eyes.

Kenneth faced charges of obstruction and resisting arrest and was later found not guilty.

Despite his anger at the attack, Leroy responded in a surprising manner: choosing the engage and join the very service which had been responsible.

The unorthodox decision saw Leroy forego a promising career as a forensic scientist to train as a police officer.

Leroy rose to through the ranks to become a superintendent before eventually leaving the force in 2013.

He was one of the founding members of the Black Police Association Charitable Trust and served as its chair.

Logan wrote Closing Ranks: My Life as a Cop in 2020, which detailed his impressive career as well as giving an insight into the mechanics of the Met.

The book also reflected on his own experiences of racism and race relations in modern-day Britain.

He has also done outreach work with youth groups about his time as a police officer.

Red, White and Blue will dramatize Logan’s struggles as he tried to improve race relations between the police and the black community in London.

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The recent Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted there is still a lot of work to be done on this front and the timing of Small Axe could not be more fitting – despite the fact the episode was filmed in 2019, long before anyone could have predicted the coronavirus pandemic and the global anti-racism protests which would make the headlines in 2020.

Speaking to media including Express.co.uk, Hollywood A-lister Boyega reflected on the role and how he prepared for the part by meeting with the real-life Logan.

Peckham-born star Boyega said he wanted to understand why Logan had made the choices he had and taken such a hard route as well as the motivations behind his life choices.

He explained Red, White and Blue was essentially a father and son story at its heart, saying he also spoke to director McQueen and his co-star Steve Toussaint – who played his onscreen father – during the filming process.

Boyega said: “I think the beautiful thing about this – and I think this is why it’s so important for us to continue to do stories that is of us – is because on set you have discussions of relation that helps you get closer as characters.

“I spoke to [Toussaint] about my father and my dad and our dynamic. He spoke to me about his father and their dynamic. We were either laughing about something that we went through, or it was a serious chat about like a real, fundamental moment.

“In fact, a lot of Steve’s dialogue came from – I think there’s a part where he speaks about, ‘You do great and your education and that’s all you want to do – that’s your choice. But if you don’t have an education, if feels like you’re suppressing energy.’

“He says that in Red, White and Blue. That’s a story Steve [Toussaint] told straight off the bat and Steve [McQueen] was like, ‘Yeah, leave that in.’ It was a lot of spontaneous conversation and creativity.”

On playing Leroy and understanding his choices, Boyega reflected: “It’s just more perspective for me. I have one friend who’s in the police force and I’ve got some perspective on her experience.

“But Leroy, to get his experience at that time, was for me where the insight came because just for me, I was born in 1992.

“So, to imagine that kind of conflict especially in your late 20s going into your 30s, going to be a scientist, a good stable job, going into another world.

“You know, it’s the police, you’re trying to instigate change for your community – that kind of choice was like for me hard. What made you do it?”

He added: “But there’s a lot of foresight that comes with a man like Leroy, especially if you sit with him as well.”

Small Axe: Red, White and Blue airs on BBC One on Sunday at 9pm

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