Socialist Worker

‘There will be no peace until we get justice,’ says Kingsley Burrell's family after inquest

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2454

Kadisha Brown-Burrell (centre) on a protest against deaths in custody

Kadisha Brown-Burrell (centre) on a protest against deaths in custody (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Kingsley Burrell’s family is demanding a public inquiry into his death after an inquest jury ruled that police restraint and neglect contributed to his death.

The jury delivered its “narrative verdict” into the death of the 29 year old black man on Friday of last week.

A narrative verdict explains what happened rather than deciding who was responsible.

Kingsley’s sister Kadisha Brown-Burrell told Socialist Worker, “This was not the verdict we were hoping for.

“We hoped for unlawful killing, which means that someone would have been instantly prosecuted for Kingsley’s death.

“We want the officers to be prosecuted. They’re still in their jobs  even now and their gross misconduct hearings don’t start until June.” 

The Independent Police Complaints Commission had decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute anyone.

Kingsley had called the police about a gang threatening him and his young son Kayden in 2011. Police officers arrested and sectioned him.

It’s now clear that a blanket was placed on his head before he was taken into the mental health unit. Jurors said police and health workers should all have removed the covering.

Damning

Kadisha added, “But the damning narrative brings to mind the 15 police and workers who failed to remove the blankets from Kingsley’s head.

“We’ve got more scope with this because it highlights the neglect issue.”

Kadisha attended and gave evidence to the inquest. She said, “Some of the stuff that came up went beyond surprising—it was bewildering.

“One officer was shown a picture of himself right next to Kingsley, but said he hadn’t noticed the blanket around his head.”

Kadisha added, “We’re looking for a public inquiry. We wanted a private prosecution. It was heart wrenching to watch the evidence.

“We had to live through it when it happened and then relive it as the inquest took place.

“We’re holding a static protest outside Steelhouse Lane police station on Saturday.

“It’s to let them know that the campaign is not going away. As far as we’re concerned there will be no peace until we get justice.

“We haven’t given up since day one. We had the march for Kingsley just after he died. 

“It took 17 months for them to release his body. I’m never going to sit back and take it and not do anything about it.”

Join the protest Saturday 23 May, 12 noon to 3pm, Steelhouse Lane Police Station, Birmingham, B4 6NW

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