Deaths in custody

Submitted by AWL on 7 April, 2020 - 9:18
Edson da Costa demo

Under the emergency powers of the Coronavirus Act, unless a medical professional deems it necessary, death certificates for people that die in custody will not have to be signed by a coroner.

Yet the law was passed with little debate and with almost no opposition to these provisions from the Labour leadership.

Inquest reported that in the financial year 2018-19, there were 276 deaths during or following police contact, 16 in or following police custody.

Of those 16 deaths, 10 people were identified as having “mental health concerns” and 13 were known to have a link to alcohol or drugs. Six of the sixteen people who died in or following police custody had force used against them by the cops or by members of the public before their deaths.

There are too many cases like Edson Da Costa, a 25-year-old Black Portuguese man whose family ran a campaign of protest after he died on 21 June 2017 while detained by the police. And many of them young black men.

Labour should analyse and press for changes to this and other clauses of the Act.

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