"I am Anthony Grainger's mother and in my opinion, on 3rd March 2012, my son was executed by an armed response officer…" Marina Schofield
There were tears and fears as hundreds gathered in Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens to remember on Fathers Day all those who had been killed in contact with the police. Centre stage was the case of Salford's Anthony Grainger, shot dead by police as he sat in a car in Culcheth in March this year.
The crowd, many wearing Justice4Grainger tops, heard an emotional plea for justice from Anthony's mother, Marina Schofield…
"I am Anthony Grainger's mother and in my opinion, on 3rd March 2012, my son was executed by an armed response officer" she said "I want this officer charged with murder because Anthony was shot in his vital organs, his heart and lungs, not below the waist which is classed as manslaughter. His colleagues should be charged with corporate manslaughter.
"My son was a loving father to his children and step children" she added "His four year old son wants to know where his daddy is, his ten year old daughter cries herself to sleep every night knowing the police have killed her daddy – she has to ask `Why did they kill him?' This has left us devastated as a family, our lives will never be the same. I cry every single night knowing what they did to my son…My son had only ever been in trouble for car crime when he was a young lad… Section 2 of the Human Rights Act states everybody has a right to life…So why was he killed?"
Janet Alder, sister of Christopher Alder, unlawfully killed 14 years ago, told the family that they faced a long hard fight for justice and urged campaigners to stick with them…
"My brother had his trousers and boxer shorts down to his knees, suffocating on the floor while five police officers stood around and were heard making monkey and chimpanzee noises" she told the crowd "I honestly thought after seeing that cctv footage that justice was going to be done. I really believed and had confidence in the police complaints authority and the crown prosecution to bring those responsible for my brother's unlawful killing to justice. 14 years later I'm still waiting. I've faced lies for 14 years…"
Janet spoke of `bullying and intimidation' tactics by the police because "I kept asking questions…because I wouldn't accept these officers making monkey and chimpanzee noises and references to bananas; but this is my family!"
Janet added that after 12 years they finally buried her brother, only to find that the body released was that of a 77 year old woman…
"The battle for the truth goes on" she said, adding "Do I believe I will get justice? No. This family needs you to support them because it is a long road. It could be any single one of us. Don't think it won't happen to us because we never get into trouble. My brother never got into trouble. He went to a nightclub and went for a drink. It could be anybody.
"I believe there is a law in this country that says police officers will not be prosecuted no matter what" Janet concluded "This law needs to change but it can only be changed by the people…"
After Janet's speech, the names of all those who have died during contact with the police were held aloft in front of the stage… including Blair Peach, Smiley Culture, Mark Duggan, Christopher Alder and now, Anthony Grainger.
The formal charges against the Greater Manchester Police officers who were involved with Anthony Grainger's killing will be known in July.
For full background see previous Salford Star story on Anthony Grainger – click here