A misunderstanding that could end badly

On this day in 1983, Stephen Waldorf and Susan Stephens found themselves surrounded by police in London for no apparent reason. Stephen was hit several times because he was mistaken for someone Susan knew: the criminal David Martin

Surronded by policemen

On January 14, 1983 , a mini with three people inside was stopped in the middle of a traffic jam in London . In front, as co-pilot, was Stephen Waldorf , a 26-year-old boy. Behind was a girl named Susan Stephens . Suddenly, they were surrounded by policemen . Before he knew why they were being yelled at, Stephen was shot several times by two policemen. When he was half unconscious, one of the policemen put a gun to his forehead and said something like “goodbye, son of a ***.” And shot. As luck would have it, just at that moment, the bullets had run out. The policeman gave Waldorf several rifle butts, until he lost consciousness.

What had Waldorf done to deserve this? Well, he was probably wondering that himself, because he had done absolutely nothing. The explanation, not justification, for the police shooting was Susan Stephens. It turns out that she was a friend or possibly a girlfriend of a certain David Martin , a criminal that the police had been looking for for days with a lot of accumulated anger, because David had a trial pending for leaving a policeman very badly injured. The cops had been following Susan for days, and when they saw her in the car, they thought Stephen was really David .

Cops failed to kill him

Looking at photos of the two, it cannot be said that they were anything alike. Luckily for Stephen, the cops failed to kill him, and he was able to live to bring them to trial and be compensated for how badly they hurt him. Of course, none of the policemen lost their jobs.

Open Fire

Brilliant British true-crime TV film from 1994, produced by Jeff Pope and Simon Shaps for LWT (London Weekend Television), written and directed by Paul Greengrass, and starring Rupert Graves in one of his career-best performances.

London, 1982. David Martin — a provocative, aggressive lock-breaker, jail-breaker, gun-fetishist — and transvestite — is released from prison. By 1983, after gratuitously shooting a police officer during a burglary, he’s the UK’s most-wanted criminal. The Metropolitan Police’s panic-stricken pursuit of Martin results in the Met’s most notorious ‘wrong-man’ shooting of the 1980s: the Stephen Waldorf case.

No copyright infringement intended. I’m posting this as a public service (from a 1994 off-air video) because it’s a crime that this film is unavailable elsewhere (and I’m a massive fan).