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Michael Groce is a poet, community worker and former criminal. His name is remembered by many in connection with the Brixton riots of 1985, in London, England, when his mother, Cherry Groce, was shot by police during a dawn raid on her home. He is now a published poet, having won the Cheltenham Poetry Prize, and actively engages with young people to inform them of his own experiences.
Michael Groce was brought up in Tinworth House, on a rough housing estate in Vauxhall, London. Much of his life from age six was spent in residential care. He was involved with street gangs, and had been exposed to guns during his childhood. He spent time in and out of prison; throughout his life, he accrued 50 convictions and 15 different spells in prison.
Role in the riots
A few days before the riots, Michael Groce was involved in a domestic dispute with his girlfriend during which he fired a gun. Shortly afterwards, he heard a knocking on the door, and went down to answer it, believing it to be a neighbour complaining about the gunshot. Instead, he found a police officer, enquiring if he was Michael Groce. Groce attempted to close the door, but the police officer would not let him, and only left after Groce put the gun into the officer's mouth.
Following this incident, Groce fled his mother's house, and took up residence with his sister. After three days of hiding, when he turned on the television, he was presented with a picture of his mother accompanying a news story about her shooting and subsequent paralysis from the waist down. She had been shot in a police raid in search of him.
Her shooting triggered the riots. Groce handed himself in to the police shortly afterwards.
Following the riots, Michael Groce attempted to help the community recover - he ran a youth football team, trying to provide a fun alternative to crime.
He now runs poetry, personal development and motivational workshops in schools, and gives talks to dissuade others from making mistakes similar to those he made.
Groce is also a poet. He wrote poetry in prison, often at the request of other inmates to send in letters to partners or family. He won the Cheltenham Festivals, and owns his own performance club.
- "Leaving a life of crime". Retrieved 2006-11-16.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (November 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
- "A Brixton Renaissance". Retrieved 2006-11-16.
- "'My mum got caught in the crossfire'". BBC News. 2004-05-12. Retrieved 2006-11-16.
- Taking Care - Rough Diamonds (Documentary). BBC. 2003.