David Oluwale : The first victim of racist policing – 1969

David Oluwale

source: ITV News
published: 17 April 2019

Today [17 April 2019] marks the 50th anniversary of what racial justice campaigners have described as one of Yorkshire’s most shameful episodes.

Nigerian immigrant David Oluwale had come to Britain to work, at 19 years old sailing into Hull on a cargo ship. But mentally ill and vulnerable he ended up homeless in Leeds.

Mr Oluwale never settled, and spent his time in and out of prison, on the streets in Leeds City Centre, and at the infamous High Royds psychiatric hospital in Menston.

After his release he was targeted by two Leeds Police officers and was systematically beaten right up until his death in 1969. Since his death he’s been held up as the first victim of racist policing, an immigrant from Nigeria who was easy prey.

The 38-year-old Nigerian immigrant has become a part of Leeds. When he was buried – the only people there to mourn were the undertakers. His death burns deep into the conscience of this city.

In April 1969, Oluwale was seen running towards the River Aire. He was holding the back of his head with his hands. On 4th May his badly beaten body was pulled from the water.

His death brought an end to his torment but it marked the beginning of one of the most shameful periods in the history of the police in Leeds.

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