Tuesday, 31 August 2010

7th Memorial of the death of Mikey Powell

This from the Justice for Mikey Powell website:

In Remembrance…

Two events are being held by the Mikey Powell family (both on 5th September 2010) in memory of Mikey Powell organised by his family. Both will be taking place in Birmingham, West Midlands.

Mikey died after being restrained by West Midlands police officers from Thornhill Road police station on 7th September 2003.

Mikey : RIP
Memorial Service:

From 11.00am
Holy Trinity Church
213 Birchfield Road
Birmingham B20 3DG
See Map Here >

Candlelit Vigil:

7.00pm – 8.00pm
Thornhill Road Police Station
Thornhill Road
Birmingham, B20
See Map Here >

The Friends of Mikey Powell Campaign for Justice was established by the family of Michael Lloyd Powell (known as Mikey), a cousin of the renowned poet and writer, Benjamin Zephaniah, following his death in Police custody. Mikey was 38 years old and a father of three young children.

He had suffered several short episodes of mental illness from which he had recovered. An episodes occurred on 7th September 2003.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Sean Rigg vigil and meeting report

Around 100 campaigners came to remember Sean Rigg at a vigil outside Brixton police station last night. Sean died at the police station two years ago and the family still seek justice.

A coffin was marched into the police station as campaigners demanded justice. As usual, the police were too ashamed to show their faces.

This was followed by a meeting of around 100 people at the nearby Karibu Centre. After hearing from representatives of some of the families who have lost loved ones to the police, there was a discussion abut what to do next. The meeting voted to support a "people's court" to rule on who is responsible for the deaths of so many.

More details will follow. For now, watch this excellent video of the vigil courtesy of Paul Hanes from Fourman films.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Remember Sean Rigg – two years without justice

Saturday 21st August 2010

5pm, Brixton Police Station, SW9 7DD - vigil

6pm, Karibu Centre, 7 Gresham Road SW9 7PH – public meeting

On 21 August 2008, our brother Sean Rigg, was arrested by police, “restrained” and transported to Brixton police station in the back of a van. He was removed from the van in a collapsed state and died a short while after whilst in the station yard. He never entered the custody suite door.

The events leading to his death raise suspicion and concern. Although a mental health service user, Sean was fit and healthy with no illicit drugs or alcohol found in his body at the time of his death. The Independent Police Complaints Commission's (IPCC) report completed in February 2010 is, in the family’s opinion, “Heavily biased in favour of the police”, despite the obvious suspicious circumstances surrounding Sean’s death. A catalogue of errors in the investigation has caused the family to lose faith in the British judicial process following a DEATH IN CUSTODY.

For two years the family have vigorously enquired and campaigned in an attempt to find out the truth of what really happened on the night. Currently the family’s legal team are preparing for the inquest, scheduled for 2012.

Justice and Change will be hosting an open floor discussion where they and other families will talk about their experiences of injustice. The family campaigns include Christopher Alder, Brian Douglas, Roger Sylvester, Ian Tomlinson, Blair Peach and Jean Charles de Menezes amongst others, who have lost loved one’s in police custody – all have lost faith in the British Judicial System. What has really changed in the last 30 years?

Come listen and discuss your views about the controversial topic of DEATHS IN CUSTODY and the lack of accountability.

Other supportive death in custody campaign organisations, such as INQUEST, Newham Monitoring Project (NMP), Black Mental Health UK (BMH UK) and United Campaign Against Police Violence (UCAPV), will speak about the current issues and explore what can be done do to bring about awareness and change.

Family solicitor Anna Mazzola said: “It is now two years since Sean died and his family are no closer to getting answers to fundamental questions such as: why didn’t the police and NHS Trust respond to pleas for help from Sean’s mental health hostel? What happened to Sean in those crucial minutes between him being arrested and arriving in a collapsed state at Brixton police station? Why haven’t they been able to access key CCTV footage from the night? It is devastating for the family that they should have to wait until 2012 for a full inquest and deeply worrying that until that time the policies and failings which led to Sean’s death will remain unremedied.”

Deborah Coles of Inquest said: “Sean’s family’s disquiet about the lack of impartiality and independence of the investigation process and the serious delay in holding an inquest have once again resulted in a lack of confidence in the investigation mechanisms following deaths involving the police. The recent decision not to prosecute anyone in relation to the death of Ian Tomlinson follows a litany of cases where the police have not been held to account for unlawful use of force and further anger and mistrust about how the state responds to such deaths.

“Sean Rigg was another black man who has died after being restrained by police officers. INQUEST’s monitoring of deaths in custody/following police contact has highlighted how a disproportionate number of people from black and minority ethnic communities have died following the use of force. INQUEST will continue to work with his family and raise the serious issues his death raises at a parliamentary and policy level. There must be non means tested public funding for the family to be represented at the inquest in the same way that police lawyers will be paid for out of the public purse and the inquest must be held as promptly as possible given the serious family and public interest in scrutinising the events leading to the tragic death of a vulnerable man.”

Patrick Ward of United Campaign Against Police Violence, said: “The treatment of the family of Sean Rigg smacks of a justice system chasing its tail to cover up a scandal. Now the family are told to wait for the inquest in 2012, when no doubt the judicial system will seek other ways of proving its 'innocence'. We must unite at events like this to coordinate our continued campaign for justice for all those who have died at the hands of those who claim to protect us.”

The Campaign will also be hosting a private screening of the film “SUS” - a true and chilling account of one man's brush with the police in 1979 - written by Barrie Keefe who also wrote “The Long Good Friday”. Unfortunately due to limited seating, this will be by invitation only. However, SUS will be out on DVD 6 September. See the film’s website for upcoming screenings www.susthemovie.com.

Family Solicitor: Anna Mazzola, Hickman and Rose - amazzola@hickmanandrose.co.uk

Sean Rigg vigil and meeting - this Saturday

Thursday, 12 August 2010

"Serious, gratuitous and prolonged"... officers to face prosecution for attack on Babar Ahmad

Four officers from the Met Police territorial support group are to be charged over 2003 attack on "terror suspect" at his home.

This from the Free Babar Ahmad website:

The Director of Public Prosecutions has decided that TSG officers PC Mark Jones, PC James-Bowen, PC Cowley and PC Donoghue will face a joint charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in relation to the December 2003 assault on Babar Ahmad.

Bhatt Murphy forwarded a file of papers to the CPS. The decision has been reached independently of the Metropolitan Police and Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Babar Ahmad responded to the decision:

"I am pleased that the CPS has decided that a jury will hear the evidence in this case and it will now be for the jury to determine whether any police officer should be punished for the assault upon me in December 2003. I have no further comment to make at this time."

We would now invite the Commissioner to confirm that all 4 officers have been suspended from duty.

Monday, 9 August 2010

DPP protest video

Thanks to Indefilms333 on Youtube for this video of the protest outside the Department for Public Prosecutions on 30 July.