Tippa Naphtali was 41 when his cousin Mikey Powell died in police custody. The fight to learn the truth about what really happened on the night of September 7, 2003, caused Tippa to quit his job in London and return to Birmingham. Eight years later, the Yardley-based charity worker is still searching for justice.
While a criminal trial against the police officers involved collapsed due to lack of evidence, an inquest jury last year found that Mr Powell died from the position he was placed in the police van.
The same inquest ruled that there were “police failings” in how the 38-year-old father of two, who had a history of mental illness, was arrested. In particular, they said he became more vulnerable after being sprayed with CS gas, hit by a moving police car and restrained on the ground.
Thanks to that verdict, the Independent Police Complaints Commission last month re-opened the investigation into Mr Powell’s death, having initially clearing the officers involved of misconduct.
Tippa said: “Mikey’s dead. He can’t speak for himself. He can’t defend himself anymore. He can’t make accusations to those police officers about what really happened”.