2 April 2012
Janet Alder describing her brother Christopher, his death and the ongoing campaign.
There have been 333 deaths in custody since 1998.
There has been no officer found guilty for 42 years.
On Sunday, a memorial was held for a man that Hull police left to die on their station floor.
The vigil was held by Queens Gardens police station, one of many since Christopher Alder’s death on the 1st April, 14 years ago. Supporters gathered and the press came too. Janet Alder, Chris’s sister, spoke to cameras and reporters reminding them of the story so far.
A coach pulled up and a big, colourful entrance was made by supporters from London marching up the street, chanting “No Justice, No Peace” with drums too.
Speeches were made in the sunshine and people were invited to say which organisations and campaigns they represented before evreyone set off on a demonstration around town.
Later, at the Unison building, about 100 people packed the meeting organised by Hull Trades Council to hear the latest from campaigners seeking justice for their loved ones.
It was a stunning meeting. Chris himself died 14 years ago. But there were other people from London, from Manchester, who have lost men to police brutality and they spoke passionately too:
Friends and family of reggae star Smiley Culture (David Emmanuel) stabbed through the heart during a police raid – killing himself – according to police; speeches for promising and gifted musician Sean Rigg, 40, who died in Brixton police station; the family of Anthony Grainger shot dead by Manchester police in a supermarket car park last month.
In Chris’ case, he had been on a night out. Towards the end of the evening, he had been involved in a fight and he was taken to hospital for treatment. Apparently he became troublesome, possibly due to his head injury. The police were called and arrested him for behaviour likely to breach the peace.
Arriving at the police station, he was carried unconscious from the police van. Mysteriously he had lost his belt, something still unexplained today.
Chris was left with his trousers around his knees, obviously having difficulty breathing, on the police station floor. And eventually died there while police speculated he was feigning illness and made racist comments.
In 2000, at the inquest, the family received a verdict of unlawful killing. During questioning, the five police officers concerned refused to answers on over 150 occasions. Further court actions haven’t moved things further. In this case, the officers concerned were retired due to stress with £50,000 each and a full pension to come. So, neglect, minimum, that led to death, in a situation of statutory duty of care, had no criminal consequences for them.
Not only that – but this year – after 14 years, his body was discovered NOT to have been buried in 2000 when the family held the funeral! Rather, a 77 year old Nigerian woman had been buried in his place, apparently due to a mortuary mix-up! The mortuary staff concerned have moved to Australia and New Zealand, the funeral directors, paid £2200 for hearses and preparing the body(!), have since gone out of business.
It’s a horrific story.
The speeches were very moving today. No country is without its troubles, but the trials these families have gone through, the deaths, cover ups, police lies, media collusion, IPCC investigations refusing to investigate properly or at all, underscore a state where the police can kill someone and get away with it. As one police officer was reported to have said “Nothing will happen to me.”
333 deaths in custody since 1998.
No officer found guilty for 42 years.