Tuesday, 19 July 2011

'Today it's my child. Tomorrow it could be yours,' says mum (Voice Article)

THE HEARTBROKEN mother of a young man who fell to his death from a tower block during a police visit is urging the black community to protest against deaths in custody tomorrow (July 2).
Jossette Fraser, mother of Demetre Fraser, who died on May 31, will be among those leading the March for Justice rally planned for Saturday.
The demonstration will start in Hockley, Birmingham, and is aimed at highlighting the spate of black men who have died in police custody recently.
Fraser will be joined by the families of reggae singer Smiley Culture and father of two Kingsley Burrell both of whom died on March 15 and March 27, respectively in suspicious circumstances following "contact" with police.
Ms Fraser told The Voice: "Yesterday, it was for one mother, today it was for me. Tomorrow, it could be for you. Just try to remember that. It is time to stand up right now because everyone knows someone who knows someone that has died suspiciously, been beaten, wrongfully arrested or wrongfully charged at the hands of the police. We have to change the law.”
The March for Justice is part of an ongoing campaign for a public enquiry into deaths in custody and to pressure the Government to change the legislation.
Fraser, who will speak at the event, added: “My son is not the only one. There are other mothers who have lost children. I want to unite with them. They say united we will stand and divided we shall fall. I want us all to now unite.”
West Midlands Police claim they found Demetre Fraser’s body at the foot of the tower block when they came to speak with him about a reported breach of his curfew conditions.
The 21-year-old from Nunhead, south London, was living in Birmingham temporarily while on bail charged with petty assault on his girlfriend, a charge she later withdrew.
A West Midlands Police spokesperson said: “We can confirm that the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) was informed on June 1 about the death of a 21-year-old man from Druids Heath in south Birmingham whose body was found at the foot of the tower block in which he lived. The discovery was made after officers had visited the address in an attempt to speak to the man about his alleged breach of court-imposed curfew conditions.”
Demetre’s mother has rejected their explanation of events surrounding her son’s death. She said neighbours told her they overheard a huge commotion on the morning Demetre died.
“I don’t believe they found him at the bottom,” she said.
The mother added her son was a happy young man, who had never been depressed and had plans to go back to college and do something positive with his life.
“He had so much plans…so why would he commit suicide? I am so shocked. I am so heartbroken… I feel so much pain. I have already had to bury one son. My first baby was a cot death and that alone was so much pain and this was the second boy to come along. Now they have just come and taken him.
"They have cut his life so short. He only just turned 21. He was just beginning his life. I just want them to tell me what happened to my boy that morning. All I want to know is the truth of what happened.”
His family has been in contact with a lawyer in a bid to get justice and is demanding that the two officers present be immediately suspended.
The IPCC has since referred the matter back to West Midlands Police’s Professional Standards Department who will carry out an internal inquiry.

Published 01 July 2011  at  http://archive.voice-online.co.uk/content.php?show=20286

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