United Families And Friends #UFFC-National Fathers Day Vigils to Remember All That Have Died in Custody
A number of peaceful vigils will be taking place around the country on the same date and time in remembrance of fathers that have died in various forms of custody.
The vigils were initially triggered by the family of Wayne Hamilton from Sheffield. Wayne, aged 24, was found dead in a Sheffield canal on 16th June 2010. He had been reported missing by his worried family on 11th June when a friend rang them to say the last time he had seen Wayne he was running off with police officers chasing him.
A number of other campaigns and family groupings in other cities have replicated the use of a Father’s Day event to remember those that have died in various forms of custody in the United Kingdom and as a show of national solidarity.
These peaceful vigils will be taking place in Manchester, Birmingham, Central London, Brixton, Tottenham, Sheffield, Slough, High Wycombe and a number of other locations across the country. Not all are confirmed or detailed in the following.
These vigils will take place on 17th June 2012 between 12noon to 3pm
The events are supported by The United Families & Friends Campaign (UFFC).
UFFC is a national coalition of families affected by deaths in police, prison, psychiatric and immigration custody or detention.
Context to the vigils:
Campaigns demanding justice for those who have died in police and other custody joined forces to launch an ambitious petition on 20th January 2012 calling for major changes in the criminal justice system. The petition demands the replacement of the Independent Police Complaints Commission with a body genuinely independent of the police, and the suspension of officers involved in deaths in custody for the duration of any investigation.
Other demands include automatic prosecutions of officers following unlawful killing verdicts and the right to non-means tested legal aid for the families of those who die.
The Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody report published in 2011 states: in total, there were 5,998 deaths recorded for the 11 years from 2000 to 2010. This is an average of 545 deaths per year. Despite the fact there have been 11 unlawful killing verdicts since 1990 there has never been a successful prosecution
Saqib Deshmukh, Justice for Habib ‘Paps’ Ullah said; We have joined other campaigns that are marking Father’s Day so people can understand what impact a death in custody can have on families and in particular children. Habib’s own children and in particular his oldest daughter have been active in the campaign and we have worked hard to make sure that they are involved and they get the answers to why he died and see justice being done.
Tippa Naphtali, Mikey Powell Campaign & 4WardEver UK said;This has got to stop. Family campaigners need to take matters into our hands in a manner more unprecedented than anything seen before. We need to adopt intelligent and collaborative responses, working with a single vision and strategy.
Jan Butler Mother of Lloyd Butler said; My son died whilst in the ‘care’ of the police on 4th August 2010. You cannot change some things; you cannot turn back the clock. In life there is a certain guarantee that we all one by one will some day die, but as a mother you do not expect to bury your children first. I am going to take part and share my support with other families and friends whose loved one has died in custody – the fight goes on.
Susan Alexander, Mother of Azelle Rodney said; It is now approaching 8 years since my son Azelle Rodney was killed by the Met Police in April 2005, shot 7 times in the face, neck and back. Over the years we have cried, campaigned, walked alongside hundreds of other bereaved families and often alone seeking answers, the truth and justice. We are now entering into a public inquiry (September 2012). The Fathers Day Vigil is another opportunity to show a united front… we’ve got to keep moving on.
Gail Hadfield Grainger, partner of Anthony Grainger said; Fathers day is for all the families to stand together and be counted as one, also to bring all the people who are fighting for their loved ones in the media to keep the momentum going in the public eye, and to help prevent things like this happening over and over again. We want to push to be the change in society that we all need. Justice for one, justice for all.
Sheila Sylvester, Mother of Roger Sylvester said; I am surprised to know that the police and the state are still killing people! Change was supposed to come since Roger’s death, but in the past 12 years nothing has really changed. The system should be ashamed of itself! You have to have a lot of money to fight these cases, but all you get is an Inquest, and nothing comes out of an Inquest.
Charlie Williams, BirminghamStrong Justice 4 All said; We will be supporting this event while we continue to support all families’ campaigns across the UK by building the public awareness of deaths in custody.
Facebook details for some of the vigils:
Justice for Habib ‘Paps’ Ullah: High Wycombe Police Station – 12 to 3pm
Justice for Philmore Mills: Slough Police Station – 12 to 3pm
Justice4Grainger: Manchester Piccadilly Gardens – 12 to 3pm
Birmingham West Midlands Police HQ – Lloyd House, Birmingham – 12 to 3pm
Azelle Rodney Campaign: London, Scotland Yard – 12 midday
Ricky Bishop Campaign: London, Brixton Police Station – 12 to 3pm
Notes to editors:
UFFC’s No10 e-Petition: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/26276
Death in custody campaigns unite to launch petition for justice – http://4wardeveruk.org/2012/01/death-in-custody-campaigns-unite-to-launch-petition-for-justice/
United Families & Friends Campaign – http://uffc-campaigncentral.net/
Get in touch with family campaigns via UFFC Campaign Central | Tel: +44 0843 289 4994 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ken Fero, Migrant Media / INJUSTICE Film | Mob: 07770 432 439
The United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC) are continuing their campaign to call for an independent judicial inquiry into all suspicious deaths in custody.
UFFC, a coalition of families and friends of those that have died in the custody of police and prison officers as well as those who died in psychiatric and immigration detention. It also has members and supporters from campaign groups and advocacy organisations from across the UK.
The issue of deaths in custody were back on the agenda last year when American civil rights icon Reverend Jesse Jackson backed calls for a public inquiry at a press conference held at Operation Black Vote’s headquarters.
There is further concern following a report published by the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody report in 2011 which stated in total, there were 5,998 deaths recorded for the 11 years from 2000 to 2010, an average of 545 deaths per year. Despite the fact there have been 11 unlawful killing verdicts since 1990 there has never been a successful prosecution.
However, UFFC believe these reforms have not addressed the lack of justice in outstanding cases and say that equitable dispensation justice in the UK must be done and be seen to be done if the general public are to enjoy high levels of trust and confidence in the fair administration of justice.
The poor quality and speed of independent investigations conducted by the Independent Police Complaints Commission and an Inquest process that is seriously under resourced, subject to delay and limited in remit and is not fit for purpose. Both critically fail to protect or support the rights of victims or their families.
UFFC’s demands include:
1. Replacement of the IPCC to ensure open robust transparent and thorough investigations from the very outset of police deaths in custody – with a removal of all ex-police officers for it to be a truly independent body.
2. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman should be placed on a statutory footing.
3. Deaths in psychiatric detention and / or of those detained under the Mental Health Act must be subject to a system of properly funded investigation that is completely independent of the Health Service.
4. Officers and officials directly involved in custody deaths are suspended until investigations are completed.
5. Immediate interviewing of officers and all officials concerned with the death.
6. Officers and officials should never be allowed to collude over their evidence and statements of fact.
7. Full and prompt disclosure of information to the families affected.
8. Prosecutions should automatically follow ‘unlawful killing’ verdicts at Inquests and officers responsible for those deaths should face criminal charges, even if retired.
9. Implementation of police body cameras and cameras in all police vehicles in the interests of both the officers and the public.
10. There should be an automatic right to non-means tested legal aid for families. There is a lack of funds for family legal representation at Inquests whilst officers and NHS staff get full legal representation from the public purse – this is unbalanced.
The UFFC are encouraging people to sign an online petition to get the government to address the issue of deaths in custody. Click on the link below