Socialist Worker

Burrell family want police held to account

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2647

Kingsley Burrell supporters on a United Families and Friends Campaign protest

Kingsley Burrell supporters on a United Families and Friends Campaign protest (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Kedisha Brown-Burrell is demanding that the “police are held to account” on the 8th anniversary of her brother’s death.

The family of Kingsley Burrell have called a protest in Birmingham on Saturday.

Kingsley died after coming into contact with cops in the city on 31 March 2011.

He was restrained by police at a mental health unit and beaten severely while he had a towel placed over his face.

He was then left unattended and unconscious for 28 minutes with the towel still over his face and his trousers around his ankles.

Failures

Kedisha told Socialist Worker, “We want to highlight the systematic failures pertaining to Kingsley’s death.

“We want a change in the system so that the police can be held accountable.”

At the end of 2018 one cop—PC Adey—had gross misconduct charges upheld against him and was sacked. A secret Facebook group has been set up by his supporters to defend him.

Kedisha argued that the criminal investigation into the four officers involved in the events surrounding Kingsley’s death should now be reopened.

“Why didn’t the Crown Prosecution Service prosecute? They said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute,” she said.

“However, when it came to the inquest it was clear the officers were lying.”

The successful misconduct case against PC Adey related to his account to the 2015 inquest.

Kedisha described how on the night of Kingsley’s death Adey was “at the top end of Kingsley but he said he didn’t see the blanket covering his face”.

“That’s hard to believe,” she said.

“One other officer said there might have been a covering on Kingsley’s face.

“People in the community are asking the question, ‘How can these police officers go back to work and never be held accountable?’

“We’re still fighting and looking for other ways of making sure these police officers are held accountable.”

She added, “We’ve asked for a public inquiry—we’re still waiting on that—and now we’re considering bringing a private prosecution against the police.”

Kedisha described how the family have faced a struggle to access legal aid to fund the expensive process of a legal fight for justice.

Barristers

She added, “The police are always given the best solicitors and the best barristers to defend them.”

Yet the family weren’t represented at the inquest and weren’t represented at the criminal trial. Kedisha said, “The only time we had our voice heard was at the misconduct hearing.”

Support for the family of Kingsley Burrell in the fight for justice is crucial.

The Unison union has given support to the campaign.

“We’re looking to get support from other organisations and individuals as well,” said Kedisha.

Sat 30th March, 1pm, Handsworth Cemetery, Birmingham B21 8JT


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