Socialist Worker

Deaths in police custody: three more in a week

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2267

Three men have died in police custody in just a week.

Two died after police fired tasers, and one after he was sprayed with CS spray.

The deaths have further heightened tensions between ordinary people and the cops after the police shooting of Mark Duggan in London that sparked riots last month.

Philip Hulmes was a 53 year old delivery driver living in Bolton.

He died after he was shot with a taser when police were called to his house on Tuesday of last week.

They broke down the door and shot him three times with the 50,000 volt gun. He died 30 minutes later in hospital.

It came days after Dale Burns, 27, was sprayed with CS spray and shot three times with a taser by police and later died.

Seven police officers stormed his bedsit in Barrow-in-Furness after neighbours heard Dale shouting inside. When he got angry with the police he continued to shout—then they shot.

Stan Dewhurst, owner of a gym where Dale trained, said, “Dale was definitely not a violent person. He was a lovely man.

“Why seven police officers feel the need to taser someone is beyond me.”


Eyewitnesses to the police’s arrest of 25 year old Jacob Michael, also on Tuesday of last week, told of their shock at the police’s actions.

Jacob had called the police after being threatened at his home in Widnes.

One neighbour, Ann Blease alleged to the Daily Mail newspaper that she saw Jacob being arrested. She said, “They started chasing him and hitting him in the back of the legs with batons.

“I counted 11 cops. It was so upsetting to see.”

There were children and other neighbours in the street. Many shouted at the police to let him go. He died after being “taken ill” at the police station.

Armed police stopped two young girls aged 15 and nine in Birmingham last week.

The police claimed the eldest of the sisters fitted the description of an armed robber.

In fact she was on her way to collect her GCSE results from her nearby school.

Their mother, a youth worker, said, “This is the sort of thing which starts riots.”

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Article information

Tue 30 Aug 2011, 17:11 BST
Issue No. 2267
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