published: 9 November 2020
In October 2020 the United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC) annual protest & rally moved online with a powerful video tribute that remembered the victims and heard from some of the families affected. See report here >
Traditionally, a letter is hand delivered to 10 Downing Street with the demands to reform state custody practices and procedures. This years letter was sent by post and is reproduced in full below.
Dear Prime Minister
The United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC) Annual Memorial Procession – NO MORE DEATHS IN CUSTODY
This year the UFFC 22nd Annual Memorial Procession was held online due to Covid 19 on Saturday 31 October. For your information, please see our link to the event www.m.youtube.com/watch?v=i1BfRVmptkY
The UFFC received a letter from the Home Office dated 12 March 2020 from Kit Malthouse MP, Minister of State for Crime and Policing, in response to the UFFC’s letter dated 26 October 2019. For ease of reference, both letters are attached to this open letter.
The UFFC rejects the response from Kit Malthouse in its entirety. Unnecessary deaths are still happening in the UK, and no review or recommendations have made any effective difference to stop or significantly reduce the deaths.
Lessons have not been learned despite around 50 reports over decades at the cost of the public purse. More recently, the Angiolini review gave 110 recommendations 3 years ago and have still not been implemented. This is outrageous, a waste of public funds and a public outcry.
Deaths in Custody in the UK has never afforded any bereaved heartbroken family any real justice for the murder or gross negligence manslaughter or neglect of their loved one at the hands of state officials. Police brutality and institutional racism has been embedded in the UK for centuries.
Black people are dying at a disproportionate rate. Decades of evidential facts which can be proved beyond doubt have always been whitewashed by state cover ups and institutional conspiracies. This is unlawful.
The recent global witnessing of the murder of George Floyd in the US by police officers has sparked worldwide outrage beyond the Covid 19 pandemic crisis, including the UK. In fact Boris Johnson, Sir Keir Starmer and other MP’s have publicly announced their support of the Black Lives Matter Movement following the death of George in the US. But the UK is far from innocent of the same crimes.
Multiple injustices’ in the UK have unequivocally traumatised families indefinitely, whom the UK government have shamefully abandoned. Ironically, officers walk free with impunity at the cost of the public purse to the tune of millions, if not billions. Families are set to fail from the very outset of the death, when all they want to find out is what happened.
The level of force allowed to a police officer or state official, even if that force causes death or serious injury, sends a clear unequivocal message that the state allows them to act with impunity and go unpunished, with a narrative of ‘lessons will be learned’ and empty ‘sorry for your losses’.
Last month at the inquest of Kevin Clarke who died in 2018 it was clearly heard on body worn footage that whilst being restrained by up to 9 Metropolitan police officers Kevin can be heard saying that he cannot breathe and that he is dying, yet all the officers claim that they did not hear him say this.
There has never been a successful conviction of a police officer in the UK for a death in custody, following insurmountable and unnecessary deaths. Even in the US there have been some convictions, and in stark contrast to the UK, families receive large compensations of millions of dollars.
Where is the justice we deserve?!
The members of the UFFC demands the UK government immediately address these issues as a matter of the most urgency, especially now with the political climate on the issues of racism.
We await hearing from you. (See the response here)
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