The Friends of Mikey Powell Campaign for Justice was established by the family of Michael Lloyd Powell (known as Mikey).
Following the Crown Court aquittal of all 10 police officers involved in his restraint and detention, the family released the following statement:
Six police officers charged over the death of a father-of-three in their custody have been cleared by a jury.
Michael Powell, 38, died in the early hours of September 7, 2003, after he was detained outside his mother’s home in Birmingham. Inspector Tony Guest, acting sergeant Chris Wilson and constables Tim Lewis, David Hadley, Nigel Hackett and Steven Hollyman, all based at the city’s Thornhill Road police station, were subsequently prosecuted over his death.
Sgt Wilson, 31, Inspector Guest, 49, Pc Hollyman, 46, and Pc Hackett, 40, were acquitted by a jury at Leicester Crown Court of misconduct in a public office. Pc Lewis, 33, and Pc Hadley, 27, were cleared of battery but the jury failed to reach a verdict on whether the pair were guilty of dangerous driving.
The family of Michael Powell described the outcome as a “travesty of justice” while representatives of the policemen said the multi-million pound trial should never have been brought to court.
In a statement read out by Mikey’s brother-in-law, Chris Lambrias, the family said “We are like any other family who have lost a loved one as a result of a death in police custody. All we are seeking is justice – sadly, today’s verdict is a travesty of just that. Mikey was a hardworking, loving father of three boys – that’s how he will be remembered by his family and friends. “But for others, Mikey has become just another statistic, another person added to the growing list of deaths in custody where no police officer has been held accountable.”
Cousin, Joyce Springer said it was still “chapter one” in their fight to find out what had happened while Mikey was in the police van and then in a cell at Thornhill Road police station. “Clearly there’s an inquest which we are hoping to ask our solicitor to re-open. There are civil proceedings we are considering pursuing with our solicitor, and the chances are we will.”
She went on to say, “From the beginning we thought we wouldn’t get a guilty verdict, but we took it so far so that there would be some scrutiny, in particular for West Midlands Police, who have had a poor record in the past and need to be seen to be accountable. “It was not just for us but for all the other families who don’t know how their loved ones came to die while in custody.”
The family of Michael Powell did not want to erode trust which had been built up between the police and the black community, she said, but wanted to make sure lessons were learned from what had happened.