My Friend Leon Briggs Died in Police Custody – How Long Are People Going to Tolerate This?

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The sound of sirens and reports of deaths at the hands of police in the U.S. The crying of families, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters across the Atlantic. These are painful, woeful reminders to bereaved families here in the UK of the moment they were told that their loved one had lost their life after contact with the police. The police who we are told are there to protect us - which sounds so perverse after so many deaths.

Not only do the families and friends of those killed mourn – they suffer injustice on a momentous scale.

After the killings, the character assassination begins.

Then there is the long drawn out investigation by the so called ‘Independent Complaints Commission’ (IPCC) and the never ending obstacles to officers being charged for the crime they have actually committed: Murder.

My one question for any officers involved in these cases here, or in the USA, is how did the victim pose a real threat? A threat to their own existence? Is being Black enough reason to kill innocent people?

In my friend Leon Briggs case, he needed care by a specialist after being detained by police under Section 136 of Mental Health Act in 2013 in very similar circumstances to Marcia Rigg’s brother Sean. Instead of receiving that care he ended up dead in a police cell.

The IPCC which investigated Leon’s death has recommended charges inclusive of manslaughter be considered by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). This was after evidence emerged that suggested foul play by six Bedfordshire police officers who were already on notice by the IPCC for colluding.

Leon was just 39 when he died. He left behind two daughters who he will never see marry, graduate or turn into women.

The long, exhausting journey to justice for the families is a heartbreaking and frustrating journey that no family should ever have to suffer.

How much longer are the people going to tolerate so many being killed for trivial matters like a broken tail light? Or for suffering from mental health issues that affect the majority of us at some point in life. How much longer will people tolerate the words from UK police that the deceased fell ill at the station and were pronounced dead at the hospital. This narrative is repeatedly used here in the UK. The one that blames the victim for their own death.

It is plain as day the police are killing people that are of no threat. This is inhumane. We need to unite: every human being deserves justice and equal rights. For those who have had those rights taken away it is our moral duty to fight for them as fellow human beings on this earth.

Sending strength and solidarity to the USA #BLM from Justice4LeonBriggs #J4L.

Our time is now.

Liberty Louise is a friend of Leon Briggs who died in police custody in 2013 and part of the Justice 4 Leon Briggs Campaign. Check out the Justice 4 Leon Briggs facebook page

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