6 years after Mikey Powell’s still unexplained death in Handsworth following the attendance of police there is still no answer to why he died. The following are questions that the family want answered:
Mikey died on 7th September 2003, in Handsworth, Birmingham, UK. He had been arrested outside his mother’s house in the Lozells area of the city.
As we approach the long awaited inquest, here are some of the issues we’ll be putting to the coronor:
ARGUMENTS TO THE CORONOR…
This is a fairly basic response as I still haven’t had time to go through all of the papers circulated after last months meetings:
Some of the things (in brief) as notes for concern from me (Mikey’s cousin) are –
Initial police attendance
• Concern that the initial response to Mikey was aggressive and it appeared that there was little attempt to calm him down. That response in turn triggered an aggressive response from Mikey which only served to escalate the problem
• None of the initial attending officers considered the families concerns about his ‘state of mind’
• We felt that the officers attended in ‘Lozells mode’, assuming the worst case scenario from the onset, and that this almost guaranteed that the encounter and approach by attending officers would be ‘full-on’ and unnecessarily harsh
Police car driving at Mikey
• The ‘justification’ for driving at Mikey only became apparent following a leaked (and highly contentious) report to the local press that the officers thought Mikey might be carrying a gun
• Again, it is an easy scenario to ‘sell’ to the reading public given gun related incidents in the area in the months prior to Mikey’s death. Would this ploy have been adopted if the police were called to an incident of similar nature in a more affluent area of the city?
• I’m unclear whether the police have ever confirmed whether prescribed procedure was followed by the officers who claimed to have see a ‘possible’ gun (for all the deadly consequences that could have implied); and I don’t believe that in such situations that it is standard practise to drive a car at some one suspected of having one.
CS gas and batten beating
• There has always been dispute about the issue of battening and how many times Mikey was struck, but it has always been our position that use of batons was not justified as Mikey did not pose a major physical threat.
• Even at the point of initial contact I recollect that Mikey would have been outnumbered by the attending officers anyway. Also there were family members present whom could have had a calming influence on him had they been allowed to
The Custody Suite
• Of course the biggest issue for us on this matter has been the CCTV footage, and more significantly a) it’s poor quality and b) the use of secondary audio equipment
• Custody suites can be likely places to capture evidence (both in relation to detainees and police officers), this was clearly the case with Mikey and other notable cases such as Christopher Alder. It really is unacceptable that the police, one of the biggest institutions in the country, cannot provide equipment that is fit for purpose
• It is our understanding that West Midlands stations are now strongly advised not to have secondary audio equipment where CCTV is in operation, but I don’t believe this to be mandatory (Joyce may have a view on that)!
• During the trial it seemed obvious that the officer on duty at the desk was unclear about how (or indeed who) to call for emergency aid, which raises serious training and competency issues in my mind
• Personally I feel that if the police medic felt qualified enough to ascertain that the injuries sustained by Mikey outside Aunties house did not warrant hospital treatment, how then did he fail to notice Mikey’s deteriorating condition at Thornhill Road and therefore failing to get timely assistance that may have saved his life.
Watch this group and the Mikey Powell Campaign website for news: http://www.mikeypowell-campaign.org.uk
many thanks to all supporters!
Mikey Powell Campaign for Justice
Common Interest – Beliefs & Causes
This group has been set up in September 2008 to mark 5 years since the tragic death of Mikey Powell in police custody.
The Mikey Powell Campaign for Justice was established by the family of Michael Lloyd Powell (known as Mikey), following his death.
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(see link below)
Birmingham, United Kingdom