MIKEY POWELL INQUEST - DAY ONE
The inquest began yesterday into the death of Birmingham man Mikey Powell, who lost his life at Thornhill Road police station in Handsworth. John Tyrrell went along to observe.
Friends and family assembled at Sutton Town Hall for the inquest on the death of Mikey Powell. Mikey died in 2003 while being detained by police after his mother had sent for them because Mikey was suffering from mental illness.
When they arrived the police drove their car at Mikey and then used CS gas, batons and considerable force to restrain him. The more force used it seems the more Mikey resisted. He was a live while lying in the road and called for his mother on being put into a police van. By the time he reached Thornhill Road Police Station in Handsworth he had died.
To date no one has taken responsibility for the death and once more family are having to relive the trauma.
Clearly the inquest, which is expected to last for 6 weeks, is not going to be easy. It was pointed out that if the detail of the criminal trial, which lasted 13 weeks, was replicated 6 weeks would not suffice.
I went along with Raghib Ahsan and Baghwant Singh and we stayed only until an early adjournment to deal with a late witness statement. The jury were still to be sworn in. They will have a lot of detail to take in and finally decide how Mikey died.
There are several competing medical theories and the truth could be with any of them, a combination of factors or something else. After 6 years and numerous other attempts to come to a conclusion one can only hope that there will be a clear verdict.
What is clear is that considerable and prolonged force was used: we are now hearing that such investigations may be held behind closed doors. Already in the numerous cases of people dying in custody it is rare, if ever, for blame to be apportioned to those in authority. We watch this with deep interest.
Any one wanting to support Mikey's family should try and attend during the next 6 weeks.
From John Tyrrell’s blog
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