from Birmingham Mail 13th November 2009
The mother of a man who died in police custody shouted “he needs an ambulance” shortly before he was taken away in a riot van, an inquest heard.
Michael Powell suffered a cardiac arrest in a cell at Thornhill Road Police Station, Handsworth, six years ago after being arrested for smashing windows and violent behaviour outside his mother’s home in Wilton Street, Lozells.
Neighbour Michael Clifford said he watched at least five police officers restraining the father-of-three before he was placed in a police van. He told the inquest jury: “They were trying to calm Michael Powell down.
“He was on the ground. It sounded like he couldn’t get his breath, that he was struggling. He just kept on trying to get back up but the police officers kept him down. The police managed to get Mr Powell under control and he stopped struggling.
“That’s when Mrs Powell made the comment about her son needing an ambulance. She was hysterical. She was saying he needs an ambulance not the police.”
Mr Clifford said it appeared to him that no one police officer managed the incident. “I felt that everyone was trying to impose themselves on Michael Powell in keeping him down,” he said. “No one was taking control of the situation.”