Just one week after a demonstration in London by the United Families and Friends Campaign against deaths in police custody has come the shocking revelation that the body of one of the most high profile victims of these deaths has been discovered in a mortuary ten years after his family thought they had buried him.
Christopher Alder, a black ex-paratrooper, choked to death on the floor of a Hull police station surrounded by policemen who refused to give him any medical assistance.
A subsequent inquest held that he had been ‘unlawfully killed’ and five police officers went on trial for manslaughter and misconduct in a public office – all these charges were dismissed by the judge who directed the jury to find them not guilty.
Later, four of them were found by an internal inquiry to be guilty of ‘serious neglect of duty’ which amounted to ‘unwitting racism’.
Despite this finding no officer was ever disciplined, they all refused to take part in the inquiry, and four were allowed to quietly leave the force on medical grounds, citing ‘stress’, which enabled them to pocket their pension and a sizeable lump sum.
It now transpires that the body of Christopher Alder was substituted for that of a woman, Grace Kamara, who died of natural causes in 1999.
This incredible event defies belief, given the stringent procedures that require two nurses to be present when verifying the identity of a body in the morgue, and the requirement for two separate identity tags on each body.
The death of Christopher Alder at the hands of the police was no case of ‘unwitting racism,’ it was the conscious racism of a police force that frankly could not give a damn about the life of one black man and were quite happy to stand there laughing, joking and making ‘monkey noises’ while he choked to death in front of them – a fact attested to by the CCTV footage which recorded the entire event.
As for the subsequent substitution of his body for that of a woman, his sister Janet told reporters ‘it’s like they just went into the mortuary, saw a black person and said “send this one out”.’
This obscene attitude is not confined to a handful of policemen in Hull – it exists right through the police force, from top to bottom.
Racism is not just ‘institutionalised’ or ‘unwitting’ in the police force, it is completely ingrained in them and comes out in all their activities from the harassing of black youth through stop-and-search measures, to shooting dead the unarmed Mark Duggan in Tottenham last August.
This, itself, was just one of many ‘incidents’ where black youth have been targeted by the notorious armed police ‘Trident’ force dedicated to so-called ‘black crimes’.
While the police bend over backwards to accommodate the violent racist EDL they are prepared to use the most extreme violence against black workers and youth, confident that the state will back them up and that they will never be called to account for their crimes.
This racism and the protection the police enjoy from the capitalist state is no accident.
Capitalism has long used racism to attack black and Asian workers and youth who are bearing the brunt of the economic collapse of the entire system and attempt to split the working class on racist grounds.
As the crisis of the capitalist system reaches breaking point, and workers and young people are being forced to fight for their right to live under this system, so police violence and racism will increase.
The only way to end it is to put an end to capitalism itself through the socialist revolution.