The fight for justice facing Mark Duggan’s family and friends is part of a major scandal in Britain today – deaths in custody , police racism and violence which we will be addressing at our National Conference on Sunday 27th September, @ULU, Malet Street in central London. Mark’s aunt Carol Duggan will be joined by others fighting for justice for loved ones including Susan Alexander mother of Azelle Rodney, Janet Alder sister of Christopher Alder, Marci and Sam Rigg the sisters of Sean Rigg and Sheila Coleman of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign. They will be joined by Ken Fero director of Injustice and Estelle de Boulay of Newham Monitoring Project. For more information about the issues we will be discussing and speakers – see below.
To book for the conference click here: (http://www.
For a full timetable of speakers and workshops click here: Timetable
Marcia and Sam Rigg, sisters of Sean Rigg who died in police custody at Brixton Police Station in 2008. The Sean Rigg Justice and Change campaign, set up by the Rigg family, has campaigned relentlessly for truth and justice.
An initial “investigation” by the IPCC ruled the police had done nothing wrong in Sean’s case but an inquest jury concluded that officers used unsuitable and unnecessary force on Sean, with officers failing to uphold his basic rights, and police actions contributing to his death. In May, an independent review of the IPCC’s initial investigation (first review of its kind) found that the IPCC had made a string of errors, as had the police and “inappropriate conduct” by the Police Federation.
Carole Duggan, aunt of Mark Duggan who was shot by the police in Tottenham in August 2011. Carole has been a tireless voice in the face of the police and the media, who have tried to paint Mark as a dangerous man – far from the reality of Mark’s reputation within his community as a “peace-keeper”.
A year on and the IPCC still hasn’t released the results from their own inquiry but have said they have “found no evidence of criminality” without even interviewing the any of the officers under caution of potential offences. All 11 police officers refused to orally answer questions, submitting written answers instead – their statements were written over eight hours while sitting in a room together three days after having killed Mark! Mark’s death was felt all over the country, with the anger of yet another black man being killed by the police becoming the spark to set off the riots. On Monday 16th September, the inquest into Mark’s death begins at the Royal Courts of Justice and we encourage people to support the Duggan family and friends by attending in the public gallery.
Susan Alexander, mother of Azelle Rodney who was shot six times at point-blank range by the police in April 2005. Susan has been the driving force in fighting for the truth despite every attempt by the state to undermine her fight for justice. In May 2009, Susan filed a case in the European Court of Human Rights, claiming that her human rights were breached by the failure to hold a “reasonably prompt” and public investigation into her son’s death.
After seven years of campaigning, the public inquiry in October 2012, which finally forced the Met to make public all the evidence in Azelle’s death, concluded that the police had unlawfully killed him thus overturning the initial IPCC “investigation”. In the course of the inquiry, the officer E7 who shot Azelle was allowed to keep his anonymity, giving evidence from behind a screen, and admitting to having killed two other men in the 1980s.
The report found that E7′s claim that he fired in fear that Azelle Rodney had picked up a gun and was about to fire was not credible, and “he could not rationally have believed that”, that it was not a proportionate response to “open fire with a lethal weapon” and that even if E7 had held a mistaken belief that Rodney had an automatic weapon, “there would have been no basis for firing the fatal fifth to eight shots”, which struck him in the head. As if this wasn’t enough, E7 is now challenging the outcome of the inquiry, and is supported by the police in his attempt to do so.
Janet Alder, sister of Christopher Alder who died in custody in a Hull police station in April 1998. Janet’s ongoing fight for justice has been an inspiration, despite every attempt from the police to block her along the way. It has recently been revealed that much like the Lawrence family, the police spied on Janet in the hope of damaging the campaign – “As soon as I walked out of the station after Christopher died, I was followed by a police officer.”
Christopher was taken to the hospital after having been the victim of an assault. His behaviour there, likely to be caused by the head injury, meant he was arrested and taken to the station. Handcuffed and unconscious, he was “partially dragged and partially carried” from a police van and then placed on the floor of the custody suite while officers chatted and speculated that he was faking illness. He could be heard making “gurgling” noises as he breathed in and out through the pool of blood around his face. One policeman said that although he was aware of the gurgling he ignored it, believing Christopher was deliberately blowing through the blood to “try and upset” them. As the young black man lay dying on the floor, officers made monkey noises. After 12 minutes one noticed that Christopher was not making any breathing noises and although resuscitation was then attempted he was pronounced dead at the scene.
An inquest in 2000 returned a verdict of unlawful killing. The five police officers who were present in the custody suite at the time refused on more than 150 occasions during the hearing to answer questions. Although the CPS initially said there was not enough evidence, they were charged in 2002 of manslaughter but the trial collapsed when the judge ordered the jury to find the officers not guilty on all charges! An internal police disciplinary inquiry also cleared the officers of any wrongdoing. In 2006 an IPCC report found that four of the officers guilty of the “most serious neglect of duty”. Christopher’s body was discovered in the mortuary, eleven years after his family believed they had buried him. An exhumation of his grave found that a 77 year old woman had been buried in his place. In November 2011 the government formally apologised to Alder’s family, admitting that it had breached its obligations in regard to preserving life and ensuring no one is subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment. They also admitted that they had failed to carry out an effective and independent inquiry into the case.