Socialist Worker

UFFC procession: united in anger at deaths in custody

by Matthew Cookson
Issue No. 2025

Families and friends united against injustice in London last Saturday (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Families and friends united against injustice in London last Saturday (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Hundreds of relatives and friends of those who have died in custody held a remembrance procession in central London last Saturday.

The black and white families and friends were united in grief and anger at the deaths of their loved ones.

The march, organised by the United Families and Friends Campaign, included a silent procession to Downing Street where families handed in a letter demanding justice for those who had died in custody.

Marchers held signs with the names of those who have died. The poignant march turned loud outside Downing Street as people demanded justice.

More and more families are suffering deaths in custody, and joining the campaign.

Mrs Christine Ogboro made an emotional speech outside Downing Street. Her husband Frank died in July after being restrained by several police officers in south east London. Frank was visiting Britain from Nigeria.

Christine said, “The police restrained him. He had not committed any crime. I had to come from Nigeria to identify the body. My husband has been taken away from me. I want justice for Frank Ogboro.”

She then told Socialist Worker, “I want the government to investigate the officers who were involved in this. The best thing in my life has been taken away from me.

“I need everyone’s support. I am only a visitor in this land.”

Patricia Coker’s son Paul died in a cell at Plumstead police station, south east London, in August last year.

Patricia told Socialist Worker, “We need to constantly remind the public, the media and the government that deaths in custody are not acceptable.

“They are a horrendous blot on this country. Murder, abuse and cruelty are being inflicted on those held in prisons and institutions. We are all fighting for justice for loved ones who have been taken away from us.”


Members of the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian shot by police at Stockwell tube station in July last year, attended the march.

Patricia da Silva Armani, one of Jean’s cousins, said, “We believe we need to fight for justice. It is good to be here with other families in a similar situation.”

Susan Alexander, the mother of Azelle Rodney, who was shot dead by police in April of last year, attended the protest with a number of campaigners. She said, “We are still asking questions about what happened to Azelle.

“We are still going through the official processes. The officer who shot Azelle is still out there. I want to know what happened and why.”

Dorothy Thomas and Debbie Bronze came to the protest from west Wales. They were remembering Jason Thomas - Dorothy’s son and Debbie’s nephew, who died in prison in 2004.

Dorothy said, “Jason had mental health problems and learning difficulties. He was wrongfully arrested for stealing a packet of bacon. He was suicidal but they sent him to prison. He wasn’t on suicide watch. He didn’t get the help he needed. He was such a nice kid and was only 26.

“There are so many people who are in prison who shouldn’t be there. Why can’t they have community service and mental health care.

“This government goes on about the state of other governments, but it should look at its own condition.”

For more on the campaign go to

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Article information

Sat 4 Nov 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2025
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