Number of deaths in West Midlands Police custody revealed

Police crime sceneall credits: Today UK News
published: 3 September 2021

Nine people have died while in West Midlands Police custody in the last 20 years, new figures have revealed. Of those deaths, seven were men and two were women according to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests lodged with West Midlands Police.

The deaths include Mikey Powell, 38, who tragically died in 2003 of asphyxiation while in custody after an arrest following a disturbance at his home in Lozells. Meanwhile, Kingsley Burrell, 29, died in 2011 after being detained by police. His family have been fighting for justice ever since.

The FOI had asked for deaths in custody from 1990, but the force said its records did not go back that far. But police records from 2000 onwards did show that there were two deaths in 2003, one in 2005, another a year later, one in 2010, one the next year and one in 2014.

A separate FOI request, asking for the number of deaths in police custody between 2015 and 2021, showed one in 2015-16 and another in 2017-18. Of the nine deaths, four were described as white, two black, two Asian and one was “not recorded”.

Dad-of-three Mikey Powell, 38, was hit by a police vehicle, sprayed with CS gas, restrained on the ground – while suffering psychosis – and bundled into the back of a police van. Around six minutes later, his body was placed on a mattress in a cell at Thornhill Road station in Handsworth where officers noticed he was not breathing.

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