Brian Douglas

Family vigil marks 10 years since controversial custody death

by Mikey Powell Campaign
Originally published
9th May 2005

News updates listed at the foot of this item

The family of a South London man whose death led to an international campaign for justice held a vigil in his memory on 8th May 2005 outside Kennington Police Station.  The vigil marked 10 years since Brian’s death in Southeast London. Shortly after midnight on Tuesday 2nd May 1995, Brian Douglas – a popular music and sports promoter and father of one, and Stafford Solomon were stopped by Police Constables Mark Tuffey and Paul Harrison in St Luke¹s Avenue, Clapham. 

During the incident Brian was struck with a recently introduced American-style long-handled baton by PC Tuffey. Despite vomiting in his cell, Brian was not taken to hospital until more than 14 hours after he was injured.  It later emerged he had a fractured skull and damage to his brain stem.  Brian later sadly died from haemorrhages and a fractured skull five days later.

The then Police Complaints Authority (now replaced by the Independent Police Complaints Commission), conducted an investigation and an inquest followed in which several eye witnesses testified that PC Tuffey had hit Brian on the top of his head, which was contrary to the correct use of these batons as prescribed by the Metropolitan police high command.

At the inquest PC Tuffy said his baton had accidentally slipped when he hit Douglas on the shoulder.  Evidence at the inquest said the force of the blow was equivalent to being dropped from 11 times his own height onto his head. The jury returned a verdict of misadventure, later challenged unsuccessfully by the family at the High Court.

Family members at the vigil marking the 10th anniversary of Brian’s death The Crown Prosecution Service claimed there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the officers involved, and the then Commissioner, Sir Paul Condon, also refused consent to disclosure of statements taken by the investigating officers.

No disciplinary action was taken against either officer after a Police Complaints Authority supervised investigation and the Crown Prosecution Service brought no charges. In 1999 the Butler Inquiry expressed concern regarding the Director of Public Prosecution¹s decision not to prosecute the officers involved in Brian¹s death.

Brian was a popular music and boxing promoter whose case is featured in the controversial ‘Injustice’ documentary.  To this day the police officers that killed Brian have not even been disciplined.   During the past ten years the family and friends of Brian Douglas have continued to demand justice.


Follow-up News:

Police baton blow blamed for man’s death
9 August 1996

Why? Deaths in custody special report
30 March 2001

About Brian Douglas
(no recorded date)

Justice for Brian Douglas (Video)
4WardEver on YouTube

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