Man who died in police custody was pinned down by officers, says witness

Police car ran over Birmingham manfrom Birmingham Post
10th November 2009

A Birmingham man called out “mummy” as heavy-handed police officers carried him away to a prison cell where he later died, an inquest was told.

Witness Abid Ali said Michael Powell struggled with six officers as they arrested him for smashing windows and damaging his mother’s property. Neighbour Mr Ali, speaking at the inquest at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall said that moments earlier he saw an officer with both of his knees on Mr Powell.

“I would like to say clearly there was an officer with a bald head I remember him with both his knees on Michael. He was using his hands to restrain him. I clearly remember that image in my head,” he said.

Hugh Davies, representing the police, said there was no dispute Mr Powell was kept on the ground but said the only question was how and added “my suggestion is in fact he was being held down”.

Mr Ali added: “I don’t think that all the force that was used would have been acceptable. I would have been very uncomfortable if it was anyone in my family.”

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