Socialist Worker

Deaths in custody: Relatives march to demand justice

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2226

The march approaches Downing Street  (Pic: Socialist Worker)

The march approaches Downing Street (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Around 100 supporters of the United Families and Friends Campaign blocked traffic as they marched silently from Trafalgar Square to Downing Street in central London on Saturday.

The campaign brings together relatives and supporters of people who have died in police stations, prisons and in mental health institutions.

Susan Alexander, the mother of Azelle Rodney who was shot six times by police, told Socialist Worker, “It’s been five and a half years of fighting for justice. We’ve been promised a full inquiry—all I want is the truth and to move on.”

The campaigners held a rally in the road outside Downing Street, and saw off police attempts to move them.

Speakers included Stephanie Lightfoot-Bennett, sister of Leon Patterson, who died in 1992.

She told the crowd, “I’ve campaigned for 18 years for justice. He was arrested in Stockport and held by police. I was called to identify the body and I didn’t even recognise him—I told them they’d brought out the wrong man.”

Other families included the relatives of Sean Rigg, Habib “Paps” Ullah, Roger Sylvester, Ricky Bishop and Jason McPherson.

Campaigners had been told they could present a letter demanding a review of the complaints procedure against police.

But Samantha Rigg-David, Sean Rigg’s sister, was blocked when she tried to deliver it. Sean’s other sister, Marcia, led a chant of “No justice, no peace”.

Stephanie Lightfoot-Bennett shouted, “We send our children out to die in Afghanistan and for what? You won’t take our letters?” Her son is a marine, who was deployed in Afghanistan.

The United Campaign Against Police Violence also supported the march.

For further detailsof the campaign go to

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Article information

Tue 2 Nov 2010, 18:06 GMT
Issue No. 2226
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