For immediate release: Friday 8 June 2012
National Fathers Day Vigils to Remember All That Have Died in Custody
17th June 2012 between 12noon to 3pm
At locations throughout the UK
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.