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Mikey Powell

After a six year wait, the inquest begins today into the death of black Brummie Mikey Powell – who died in mysterious circumstances in police custody.

According to the blog set up by his supporters, father of three Mikey (a cousin of the poet Bejamin Zephaniah) was physically fit before a fatal run in with the rozzers.

He’d previously suffered several short bouts of mental illness and when another occurred outside his mum’s house in Lozells on 7 September, 2003, the police were called by concerned family members.

It’s alleged that officers drove a car at Mikey, hit him, then used CS spray and a baton while restraining him. Rather than take him to hospital, they took him instead to Thornhill Road police station where he died in detention.

In 2006, there was a three month Crown Court trial of 10 West Midlands Police officers (eight were charged with misconduct in public office, two with dangerous driving.) All were subsequently acquitted – a verdict that was met with dismay by the family and their supporters.

Tippa Napthali, Mikey Powell’s cousin said: “Such deaths in custody like Mikey’s frequently fade from public interest while the grief and anguish of affected families can continue for many years.

“We have only ever wanted answers to the many questions as yet unanswered, and hope that this inquest will mark an important stage in our continued quest for truth and accountability for Mikey’s death”.

Deborah Coles co-director of campaigning group Inquest whose lawyers are representing the Powell family said: “The truly shocking circumstances of this death will finally be subjected to proper public scrutiny.

“It is profoundly disturbing that a black man in need of medical treatment and care died following contact with the police and the issues his death raises about the use of force and the care of vulnerable detainees in police stations are as pertinent today as they were six years ago.”

The inquest begins at 10am, at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall, Upper Clifton Road.


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