The families of people killed by police taking matters in their own hands

Families United Banner at UFFC rally 2019 - Image credit Ken Fero
Image credit Ken Fero (Migrant Media)

source: Byline Times
published: 3 March 2022

This week marks a grim anniversary: one year since the murder of Sarah Everard. The killing by a serving policeman, PC Wayne Couzens, shook the country. But for the families of others that have died at the hands of the police, it was exceptional for another reason: it is one of the few times in England’s history that a policeman has been sentenced for killing a member of the public.

Christopher Alder was an ex-British Army paratrooper, training to become a computer programmer. He had served in the Falklands War and was commended for his work in Northern Ireland. He served the state, and was killed by it, dying in police custody at Queen’s Gardens Police Station, Hull, in 1998.

After being assaulted outside a nightclub, he was taken to hospital, where his behaviour became unstable, potentially as a result of his head injury. He was dragged into police custody, unconscious and handcuffed.

CCTV footage showed officers making monkey noises at the young black man. These officers would later argue – successfully – they were only laughing. Then they realised he wasn’t breathing.

The post mortem indicated that the head injury alone would not have killed him, and a coroner’s jury in 2000 returned a verdict that Alder was unlawfully killed. Five officers went on trial in 2002. But all were acquitted.

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