'NOW EVERYONE can see why the Metropolitan Police wanted no one to see this report.' So said a bitter Sukhdev Reel last week after her MP, John McDonnell, and Hackney MP Diane Abbot used parliamentary privilege to read out a damning report on the police investigation into her son Ricky's death.
Ricky's body was dragged from the River Thames in Kingston two years ago. The last time he was seen alive he and his friends were being chased by racists. But the police refused to believe Ricky was murdered and instead insisted he was drunk and fell into the river.
The inquest into his death is due to open in west London next week. The Police Complaints Authority report was carried out by Surrey Police and has been under lock and key at Scotland Yard since last August. Sir Paul Condon, the Met's chief, has repeatedly refused to publish the report. The Reel family have had to fight to even get a sight of it.
At first the Metropolitan Police refused point blank to show the family the report. Then they gave the family a six page 'summary' with all the crucial bits taken out. Then they allowed Sukhdev to see the report but only after they made her promise that she told no one else what it had to say!
But last week the two London MPs told parliament that the PCA report shows:
John McDonnell MP told the House of Commons that the PCA concluded that the police's investigation 'lacked focus and that it eliminated the racial incident too readily. The investigators came to the conclusion of accidental death before there was corroboration.'
'I've been saying all along that the police made mistakes,' Sukhdev Reel told Socialist Worker. 'I knew this before I even saw the report. But it really sickened me when I read it. There were even more mistakes than I anticipated. Now people can see for themselves why my family have been struggling for justice for two years. The police never took Ricky's disappearance seriously. They didn't acknowledge the racial attack. Then when they dragged him from the river they closed the case. They didn't do anything.'
UP TO 200 people attended a Ricky Reel memorial lecture in Kingston last Saturday night. Michael Mansfield QC praised the tenacity of Ricky's family and said the only way to get change in society is to fight from below. He pointed to the recent strike at Ford Dagenham as an example of the way to fight racism.