Three men have been cleared of armed robbery at a trial in Manchester relating to an operation that led to Anthony Grainger being shot dead by police.
David Totton and Joseph Travers were with Anthony in a car in Cheshire in March this year.
Police were following the vehicle and did a “hard stop”, using an unmarked police car to block its path.
Robert Rimmer was arrested the following day. Despite his death, Anthony Grainger was also listed on the indictment in court. The jury reached a unanimous not guilty verdict in around an hour.
Police statements from officers heard at the trial recorded how an officer opened fire “within two to three seconds” of stopping.
Police surveillance claimed that the men were on their way to commit a robbery and that there were guns in the car. Some 16 armed officers were involved in the operation.
They discovered no weapons when they searched the car after Anthony had been killed and his two friends arrested.
Police told local media at the time that they had done CPR on Anthony in an attempt to save his life.
But this was contradicted when Joseph Travers told the court that police kicked Anthony while he was on the floor and left him there. He said that the police then put black bags over his and David Totton’s heads.
Anthony’s family have been fighting for justice since the killing. Anthony’s mother, Marina Schofield, told Socialist Worker, “It is good news that we got these verdicts, but the war isn’t over. The police can’t just walk over us. The way they’ve behaved is a disgrace—I just can’t believe they’ve tried to get away with it.”
Just days after the shooting the Sun newspaper ran a story claiming that “the Grainger brothers were members of one of Salford’s most feared gangs”.
It quoted “sources” claiming, “The gang are major players in drug dealing and armed robberies.” But Anthony had no criminal record for any of these things.
Marina continued, “The police had no right to take Anthony’s life. He’s left two kids behind, one of them we had to tell the police killed her daddy. She doesn’t live in Manchester—I have to drive two hours to visit her. She sees Manchester as a dangerous place where the police shot her dad.”
Anthony Grainger’s family are pushing ahead with their fight for justice. Marina said, “We’re in a unique position. We’ve got statements and eyewitnesses and now the trial is over we can use them.
“The government needs to wake up and get rid of these police. What’s wrong with the system? It’s all wrong. He was my son, and no mother should have to go through this.”
Marina pointed to how important it is to campaign. “We’re coming to London on 27 October to join the United Families and Friends campaign march,” she said. “We’re not going anywhere.”