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Alarming figures and hidden Black deaths in police custody revealed

According to the investigative charity Inquest, Black and Minoritised Ethnicities (BAME) die disproportionally from the result of force or restraint by the police. From 1990-2009, 16% of deaths from the use of force were Black people, even though they represent 3% of the population.

The total number of reported deaths caused by restraint have not been made public, however, the government claimed that there wasn’t any evidence that Black deaths were proportionally higher than white deaths in 2021.

The recent report also highlighted the hidden cases that were omitted from previous reports, such as the case of Dalian Atkinson, a professional footballer who played as striker. He was a successful man, hailing from Shrewsbury, England.

Dalian Atkinson Image Credit: Aston Villa FC

Because he was not technically in custody, his death was not recorded as such however, he died at the hands of ex-police officer Benjamin Monk, who tasered him for 33 seconds before kicking the former Aston Villa player in the head twice with such force that the shoelaces made an imprint in Atkinson’s head. In June 2021, Benjamin Monk was charged with manslaughter and given an 8-year sentence – this made him the first officer in 30 years to be convicted of manslaughter following police contact.

The race action plan released by the National Police Chiefs Council in 2022 said:

“Last year, we stopped and searched Black people at a rate that was seven times higher than it was for White people … force was five times higher … we discharged or drew Taser on Black people at a rate that was six times higher … only 3.5% of the population is Black.”

If these figures aren’t the product of institutional racism, then who would care to explain what plausible explanation is there for the deaths of Black people who have encountered the police?

Deborah Coles, the director of Inquest said:

Deborah Coles - Credit; Twitter

The disproportionality in the use of force against Black people adds to the irrefutable evidence of structural racism embedded in policing practices.

In July 2021, the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, published a damning report calling on states including the UK to “end impunity” for human rights violations against Black people by police officers and reverse the “cultures of denial” towards systemic racism, particularly in the context of policing and deaths in custody.


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