Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1027/28592
Hillsborough trial: cop changes story
Dave Walsh, Hillsborough spectator and Liverpool Socialist Party member
On 15 April this year, it will be 30 years since the Hillsborough Disaster where 96 Liverpool FC fans were killed in a crush on the Leppings Lane stand at the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest. Yet only this January did the trial begin of match police commander David Duckenfield, and the venue club secretary Graham Mackrell.
Duckenfield is represented by Benjamin Myers QC. Myers told the court his client did the best he could in very difficult circumstances. He also said he would look at events on that day critically and realistically, but in no way sought to insult Liverpool supporters or their city.
Myers went on to say the tragedy happened "by virtue of bad stadium design, bad planning, some aspects of crowd behaviour, some aspects of police behaviour, mistakes by individuals and genuine human error."
There may well be some truth in Myers' comments. But Duckenfield was warned of the dangers and chose to take no countermeasures. And it is not lost on the people of Liverpool that this was not his defence for most of the three decades since the tragedy.
His defence so far - backed by South Yorkshire Police, Thatcher's Tory government and the capitalist media, most notably the 'Scum' newspaper - was that the fans caused the disaster.
They said the fans were violent, drunken animals; that we kicked our way into the stadium, and police were powerless to stop us. They also said that, as dead bodies lay on the pitch, Liverpool fans looted their belongings and urinated on police officers trying to do their duty.
Duckenfield hid behind these lies and the huge cover-up that was orchestrated by the British establishment for many years. He is doing now what any criminal would do: he is changing his story in the light of the overwhelming evidence against him.
Unfortunately, the disgusting behaviour of Duckenfield and all those involved in the cover-up is nothing out of the ordinary. We have seen it time and again. The miners at Orgreave, the residents at Grenfell, the Shrewsbury pickets and many more have suffered similar treatment from the capitalist state.
The ruling class will stoop to any depths to defend its power and privilege. Their judges and officials cannot be trusted to deliver timely or thorough justice.
Independent inquiries by the trade union movement would offer better hope of getting to the truth. But to prevent such future atrocities, the power in society must move from the hands of billionaires and their representatives to democratic control by the working class.
In The Socialist 30 January 2019:
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