A coalition of black families whose loved ones have died in police, prison, or state psychiatric custody in Britain are to hold a rally in October calling for an end to deaths in custody.
The United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC), who have been marching every year since 1999, are holding the rally on Saturday, October 29 from 12:30pm to 3:30pm, starting from Trafalgar Square in central London.
They will be marching to the Prime Minister’s office in Downing Street to hand in a list of demands, which include calls for cameras in police vans, changes in legislation and a public enquiry into deaths in custody.
“One or two people every week die in custody yet not one police officer has been prosecuted,” one of the organisers, Ken Fero, said: “What I want to say to Cameron is have the courage and conviction to deal with this issue. If you can deal with human rights abuses abroad, deal with them here.”
The rally comes as another young man, 25-year-old Jacob Michaels died following contact with police officers who tasered him last Monday (August 22).
The amateur rugby league player was reportedly restrained by up to 11 officers and then sprayed with CS gas during the course of his arrest for alleged affray in Widnes, Merseyside.
He was taken by police van to a custody suite at Runcorn police station in Cheshire. But shortly after his arrival, he became unwell and paramedics were called. He was later pronounced dead at Warrington General Hospital.
“All I want to know is what happened to my son and I’m sure everyone feels the same about that,” his father, also called Jacob, said.
This year’s rally has been preceded by two marches for justice following the deaths of reggae singer Smiley Culture in Surrey and Kingsley Burrell from Birmingham both of whom died on March 15 and March 27 respectively in suspicious circumstances after police officers were called.
A third march for justice, planned for August 13 in memory of 21-year-old Demetre Fraser was postponed after recent riots across London and other cities in England.
His family reject claims he fell or jumped to his death from a tower block during a police visit on May 31.
Police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), is now investigating the deaths of all four men.