Janet, sister of Christopher Alder

They could not breathe : The families of British men who have died in police custody speak out

source: The HuffPost
published: 29 April 2021
Image: Janet, sister of Christopher Alder – credit Wasi Daniju

Introduction: 4WardEverUK’s Tippa Naphtali said; “This is a powerful and comprehensive piece on custody deaths/killings and the National Memorial Family Fund. We are very grateful to Emma Youle (Special correspondent, HuffPost UK) and the families that participated.”

1,784 people have died in England and Wales after contact with the police since 1990 – yet no officer has been held to account.

The CCTV footage shows a man face down on the floor of a police station, handcuffed and unresponsive, as he gasps for breath.

Officers are heard laughing and joking while making monkey and chimpanzee noises, apparently unmoved by the desperate plight of the man in front of them.

To this day, Christopher Alder’s sister cannot understand how Humberside Police stood by, ignoring her brother’s need for help and mocking him as he died. “They never even gave him a chance,” she says.

“They saw me and my family as just Black people that didn’t deserve any respect whatsoever. Christopher didn’t deserve any respect – he was Black, it didn’t matter. And, you know, the whole system has done it.”

Christopher, a father and former British Army paratrooper who had served in the Falklands, had been assaulted at a nightclub earlier that evening.

Janet has spent decades trying to piece together the events that followed, leaving her brother unconscious on the floor of the custody suite with his trousers around his knees.

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