Socialist Worker

Black family want answers from the Met

by Theresa Bennett
Issue No. 1777

'We want the truth-we want justice,' pleaded Rhoda. She is the sister of Ricky Bishop, who died in police custody last Thursday. Rhoda was surrounded by a shocked group of family, friends and supporters who gathered to demand answers outside Brixton police station last Sunday. Ricky Bishop was a healthy 25 year old black man.

The crowd of people, both young and old, black and white, came together despite the driving rain to protest at Ricky's death and talk of the young man they knew. There were angry shouts of, 'It could happen to any one of us!' Passers-by stopped to take leaflets.

No one could understand why none of the police officers present at Ricky's death have been named and no officer has been suspended. 'I'm not having this. I'm fed up of seeing people stand outside the police station, because another person has died in police custody,' said a friend of Ricky's.

While the full circumstances of Ricky Bishop's death are not known what is clear is that, in broad daylight on the afternoon of Thursday of last week, Ricky was in a car with a friend when the police began to follow them. The police stopped Ricky and his friend on Dalyell Road, which is a quiet residential area of Brixton.

Ricky and his friend were taken to Brixton police station. The police say Ricky and his friend were not under arrest but went to the station voluntarily. Later in the evening the police informed Ricky's mother that he was in King's College Hospital. Ricky's mother had to make her own way to the hospital. Shortly afterwards she was told Ricky had died.

The family want answers. If Ricky offered to go to the police station voluntarily and was not arrested, why was he handcuffed? What are the names of all the police officers involved? Ricky had cuts around his mouth and wrists, and injuries to his legs.

How did he get these injuries? Why was there no medical attention provided at the police station for his injuries? Why was Ricky searched in the interview room and not on his admission to the custody suite?

Was Ricky handcuffed whilst on the way to the hospital? What time was Ricky admitted to the hospital? What was the reason for Ricky's admission to hospital?

Why did it take so long to inform Ricky's family of Ricky' arrest and admission to hospital? Why did the police issue a press release with misleading information before informing the family of its contents?

The family are appealing for witnesses and information. If anyone saw anything at Dalyell Road, Brixton police station or the hospital, phone 07985 403 781.

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Sat 1 Dec 2001, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1777
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