Shot in head, death arrests and police cover-ups

all credits: Siân Ruddick
originally published: 9th August 2011

The police, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have a long history of cover-ups. There have been 333 deaths in police custody since 1998.

No police officer has been prosecuted for any of them.

Many names are unknown to most people in Britain. But some have hit the headlines. On 22 July 2005 Jean Charles De Menezes was shot seven times in the head on an underground train at Stockwell, south London.

The police claimed that Jean Charles was concealing a bomb under a bulky jacket. Neither the bomb nor the jacket existed. But even after the inquest the IPCC refused to recommend even disciplinary actions against the police who shot him.

Just weeks before Jean Charles was killed, Azelle Rodney was shot dead in Edgware, north London. On 8 April 2005, as he travelled in a car with friends, the police followed them and forced them to stop. With no warning, a police officer, still only known as E7, leant over his shoulder and shot Azelle at point blank range six times—in the face, head, chest and neck.

After the shooting the officers were allowed to sit together in the station canteen and compose their statements. The inquiry into the death is still ongoing.

Another tragedy is Sean Rigg, who died after being restrained and arrested on the Weir Estate in Brixton on 21 August 2008. Sean was arrested by police, when he was clearly in mental and emotional distress. He needed care, but instead was “restrained”.

The family have demanded the IPCC get answers but they are still waiting. Sean’s sister Samantha Rigg‑David told Socialist Worker, “The IPCC are heavily biased towards the police and their report shows this.

“We found them completely unwilling to robustly investigate my brother’s death at the hands of Brixton police.”

These are just a few examples. The IPCC has failed time and time again to deliver justice. It is no wonder people are angry.