Over sixty workers and youth marched through Brixton, southwest London, on Saturday to demand Justice for Ricky Bishop.
Ricky Bishop was a young black father and volunteer fitness trainer who died in 2001 after being detained at Brixton police station.
Under Operation Clean Sweep, he was stopped and searched while a passenger in his friend’s car.
He was detained but not arrested and taken to Brixton police station where police claimed to discover his mouth was full of cocaine-filled plastic wrappers, contradicting the fact that he spoke quite clearly to officers when he was first stopped.
The protesters assembled at Brixton Library before moving off to a short rally at Brixton Police Station then on to Camberwell Green and Peckham Square.
Nathaniel, a student from Kilburn, told News Line: ‘I want justice for Ricky Bishop who died after being detained in the police station.
‘It needs to be known properly in the news so they know we’re not going to take it – they just can’t ignore it and it will not go away.’
Jay Daniels, a film maker from Camberwell, said: ‘It’s terrible that a man has died in a police station.
‘I don’t know the full facts, but it doesn’t seem right to me.’
He added: ‘We need to change society. All of us should have a part to play.’
One of the march organisers Ruth Kimathi of International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM), told News Line: ‘We want the government to stop the police containment of the African community
‘At best it’s a poor substitute for economic development, and at worst it’s colonial domination.
‘Those responsible for Ricky Bishop’s death must be brought to justice.
‘Also, he was not arrested, he was detained – so how can he die after being in Brixton police station and his family get no answers and no reparation?
‘The commander at Brixton police station has to be held accountable for what happened.’
Ricky’s mother Doreen Jjuuko told News Line: ‘We’re here today because of what’s going on in the black community and because my son died after being detained by Brixton police.’
She alleged: ‘He is not the first one – over the years there are a number of young black males who have died after being in the custody of Brixton police.
‘The latest was Sean Rigg.
‘We want to stop these type of deaths and the violence.
‘We want to change the way they educate black kids, the way they’re taught at school.
‘They’ve lost a lot of self-respect, self-determination and are unaware of their history.’
Marchers chanted ‘No Justice, no peace’, ‘Who killed Ricky Bishop’, ‘Who are the real criminals – British police’.
They carried placards saying ‘Justice for Ricky Bishop’, ‘Poverty=Crime, Economic development, Not Police terror!’
Outside Brixton police station relatives placed flowers on a tree and Ruth Kimathi read out a statement naming the police officers on duty at the time of Ricky Bishop’s detention.
She accused the police of a ‘cover-up’ and of fabricating evidence.
She alleged: ‘Operation Clean Sweep has nothing to do with crime but the containment of our people.’
She called for ‘an independent investigation’ and the trial of those responsible for Ricky Bishop’s death.
She concluded: ‘End the containment of the black community.’
Ricky Bishop’s mother Doreen told the rally: ‘Thank you Mrs Bennett for coming on the march.
‘It’s time the families got together to get police off our streets.
‘It’s time to rise up. It’s not enough to walk down Brixton high street.
‘Our children are dying, it’s time to rise up.’
Marcia Rigg told the rally: ‘I am the sister of Sean Rigg who died at Brixton police station three months ago.
‘There is an investigation going on. And we want it to be a criminal investigation.
‘We want justice.’
Violet Bennett, the mother of Derek Bennett carried a placard saying ‘Justice for Derek Bennett’, ‘No Justice, No Peace’, ‘Shot 4 times in the “back” at point blank range’, ‘Jail killer cops’.
She alleged to the rally: ‘He didn’t do anything wrong and they murdered him.
‘What they put in the papers was wrong.
‘They were wrong to bring him down and his family down.
‘We want justice, we should never stop.’