Cause of Mikey Powell’s death established at last

I was unable to get back to the Mikey Powell inquest at Sutton Town Hall due to illness so I was anxious to hear if there was a verdict of the cause of his death after a long 6 year wait. This has left his family in considerable distress and leaves not a little lack of confidence in the community. The hearing at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall which had run through November had delivered an outcome. The well-known poet and cousin of Mikey, Benjamin Zephaniah, attended the hearing and said that while they were relieved to know the cause of death they would be taking legal advice on further action.
We were used to getting overtly racist jokey notices that it is said were pinned to the notice boards at Thornhill Road Police Station, right in the centre of Handsworth, an area well connected with African Caribbean settlement. We believed that these days were long gone and that associated attitudes to the welfare of people in the community had changed alongside. Mikey it emerged died from “positional asphyxia” lying on his side in the police van. He, along with a friend who was trying to restrain him, got an overdose of CS gas fired into their faces, batons were used as well as considerable force including sitting on him. He had already been hit by a police car. Mikey Powell’ sister Sieta Lambrias made the following observation:
“A chilling feature of this Inquest is that Mikey died in police hands. Officer after officer told the Court that they would do the same thing again. Most expressed no regret for Mikey’s death. We are alarmed about this, and think the community should be too. We will continue to fight to secure police accountability and stop future custody deaths.”

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