Socialist Worker

Mikey Powell inquest hears family’s account

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2177

Mikey Powell

Mikey Powell


Evidence is being heard at an inquest at Sutton Coldfield town hall into the death of Mikey Powell.

Mikey died six years ago in a prison cell at Thornhill Road police station after being arrested outside his family home in Lozells, Birmingham.

Judy Powell, Mikey’s sister, who gave evidence at the inquest, reiterated the family’s belief that police action was racially motivated.

She said, “If it was a white person and they saw the blood they would have taken him straight to hospital and sorted him out and found out what was going on.

“Because he was black they threw him in the van like he was an inhuman being.”

Ernest Walters, a family friend, gave evidence saying he saw Mikey standing in front of a police car when it revved its engine and ran into him, causing him to be flipped up on to the bonnet of the car before rolling off the roof.

Ernest said he had arrived at the family’s home at about midnight on 6 September 2003.

He said that he saw Mikey break the police car window before it sped off, but said it returned and, after a stand-off with Mikey, ran into him.

“At that point I didn’t want anything else to happen to him, so I grabbed him from behind,” Ernest said.

Handcuffs

“I shouted at the police to come and hold him and restrain him, to put some handcuffs on him because he was not well.

“But when they came closer I saw what they had in their hands I realised they hadn’t come to help him.”

Mikey was later hit with a baton and sprayed with CS gas before being taken to a cell where he was later found not breathing.

Sharon Powell said her brother Mikey was a “loving, family man” and despite a history of mental illness he was “fit, well and healthy”.

She said she had seen Mikey being arrested. “There were about six to eight police officers, I saw my brother on the floor, these police officers on top of him,” she said.

“I couldn’t see any part of his body apart from his shoes.”

Sharon said she asked a police officer why hadn’t he gone in an ambulance to hospital instead, asking if it was because he was black.

Hugh Davies, who represents ten officers from West Midlands Police, put it to Sharon that her version of events had been affected by a dream a friend had.

Davies also said there were three to four officers restraining Mikey and they were not on top of him as she had said.

The inquest continues.


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News
Tue 10 Nov 2009, 18:52 GMT
Issue No. 2177
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