Coventry: hundreds join march following racist police killing

Opposing racism, photo Paul Mattsson

Opposing racism, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Coventry Socialist Party

Over 200 came to the launch meeting of the #Justice4Daz campaign, set up after Coventry man Darren Cumberbatch died on 19 July following “contact” with the police. Hundreds also joined a march in Nuneaton on 29 July.

Darren is the third black man to die in such circumstances in a month, after Edson da Costa and Rashan Charles in London.

The meeting heard that Darren left his sister Carla’s house on 9 July “healthy and in great form.” Police only informed the family he was in George Eliot Hospital on 12 July.

Witnesses said he had been “battered” by police, and had black eyes and burns on his body. He told a friend he had been tasered nine times.

Speakers called for use of tasers to be suspended, and for the officers involved in Darren’s death to be suspended immediately. The Independent Police Complaints Commission was described as “not fit for purpose.”

A speaker from Black Conscious Coventry rightly said police brutality and racism are systemic and rooted in capitalism. “Policing is not there to protect the community, it’s there to protect property and big corporations.”

Hundreds marched through Nuneaton, where Darren’s violent arrest occurred.

The march was led by his friends and family. Marchers laid flowers and candles outside.

The march proceeded to the police station. Luke, a witness from the night, said “something kicked off around two o’clock in the morning. I heard him screaming, I heard him shouting. The police were there.

“He was screaming for help. He was asking, ‘What have I done?’ I heard no reply. I heard tasers – no warning of tasers. I heard CS gas – no warning of CS gas…

“That night there was something going on that shouldn’t have been going on by police.”