Family demands transparency in custody death case
De Mikey Powell Kampanjo
published 20th Sept 2003
Ajnaj sciigaj ĝisdatigoj sur ĉi tiu kazo estos enlistigita ĉe la piedo de ĉi tiu ero
The Friends of Mikey Powell Campaign for Justice was established by the family of Michael Lloyd Powell (Sciita kiel Mikey), a cousin of the renowned poet and writer, Benjamin Zephaniah, following his death whilst in Police custody. Mikey was 38 years old and a father of three young children. He had never been in trouble with the authorities and was well known and respected within his community.
He would, (although this was on extremely rare occasions), be prone to bouts of depression; and on the night in question one of these episodes occurred. Mikey died on 7th September 2003, in police custody in Handsworth, Birmingham. He had been arrested outside his mother’s house in the Lozells area of the city.
This is what happened. Officers drove a police car at Mikey, hitting him, beat him with batons, CS gassed him, restrained him and, knowing he was injured, and drove him to a police station not a hospital. At the police station the officers simply did not call for an ambulance for over 4 Minutoj. Mikey was dead by the time it arrived. On any body’s version something went very seriously wrong.
Mikey’s death has had a profound effect on his extended family, particularly his immediate family members, his children and partner. The family of Mikey Powell is committed to ensuring that answers are found to the many questions surrounding his death. Whether or not the actions of attending officers were directly attributable to his death remains to be seen.
The whole community was outraged and angry that this could happen so suddenly to a law abiding citizen. This was reflected in a packed public meeting held in September 2003, and a march to Thornhill Road police station in November 2003. Super 500 people attended the protest and hundreds more lined the route.
Mikey’s family and friends established a campaign in his name to express concern with the high rate of custody deaths in the United Kingdom. The Mikey Powell Campaign for Justice shows solidarity with other families that have lost loved ones within police, penal and mental health institutions across the country. They said; “We have vowed to lend our support to local, regional and national campaigns for justice and reform.”
The Powell family demands that openness; transparency and Police cooperation should be at the very heart of investigations into deaths in custody, and the Government must act on its own principles of ‘equality for all’ in ensuring that this is the case. The family of Mikey Powell, like families before us, never dreamt such tragedy could come so suddenly.
The campaign believes that there is a continuing systemic failure and complacency within a system that has not seen a single successful custody death prosecution of serving police officers since the killing of David Oluwale in 1969.