Salford Star reports vigil to mark anniversary of Anthony’s death

Star date 9 March

As the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) prepares to release its report to the Crown Prosecution Service this week into the fatal shooting of Anthony Grainger by Greater Manchester Police, his family have little faith that the report will reveal the truth.

Anthony Grainger, from Lower Broughton, was sitting in a car parked in Culcheth, Warrington, with two friends when he was shot dead by a member of a Greater Manchester Police Armed Response Unit last year.

A subsequent search revealed that no weapons were in the vehicle and Grainger was posthumously cleared at Manchester Crown Court of charges of conspiracy to rob. So far, no officer has been charged with the killing.

Last Saturday, one year on from the shooting, members of the public who attended a vigil in Piccadilly Gardens, heard speeches by the Grainger family and the families of other people whose deaths were associated with police treatment.

Janet Alder, whose ex-para brother Christopher died in police custody, has been fighting through the courts for 14 years, trying to hold the police up to account for his death.

Janet took the case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights before getting an apology from the British Government and an admittance that it had failed to carry out an effective and independent inquiry.

“You expect the system to do the right thing. That didn’t happen” she said “I cannot believe that so many people willingly involved themselves in covering up. Since 1969, 1500 people that have died at the hands of the state in psychiatric hospitals, in prisons or in police custody. If our loved ones die at the hands of the state we want to know why, and we want accountability.

“Do not think this couldn’t happen to you” she added “My brother was black but if he’d been any colour they would deal with it exactly the same. You must get out and support these families and must demand justice.”

Earlier, Janet had drawn comparisons between the cases of those fighting for justice for family members whose deaths were associated with police treatment… “There’s a pattern in all these cases” she said “Your loved one is seen as aggressive, a drug taker, an armed robber, anything to demonise their character.”

Carole Duggan, aunty of Mark Duggan, whose shooting sparked last year’s Tottenham riots that spread throughout the country, underlined the point in graphic style…

“The headline for the 10 o’ clock News was `Gangster shot dead in shoot out with the police'” she recalled “Mark didn’t have a criminal record, and then it came to light that Mark didn’t have shoot out with the police either. The officer shot Mark through the heart and blew his lungs away…but apparently Mark was still posing a threat with no lungs, so the officer shot him again. He wasn’t superman.

“They tried to force it down our throats that Mark jumped out of the cab with a gun to shoot 31 officers – with a gun that didn’t work” she added “They proceeded to slander Mark’s name and slander us a family. He was `a gangster, involved in a drug deal, he was after revenge for his cousin’s murder, he was under surveillance for years as a gun man…'”

“This echoes how the police are trying to justify all of these deaths by promoting them as bad people” she added “As drug dealers, gangsters… as dangerous people, so the public will think `It’s a shame but at least they’re off the streets’.”

In between these speeches, Anthony Grainger’s cousin Wesley Ahmed, from the Justice4Grainger campaign, built up a list of unanswered questions surrounding Anthony Grainger’s death…

Subsequently, Anthony Grainger, even though dead and unable to defend himself, was put on trial on conspiracy to rob charges, together with three other men, but all were cleared by a jury, which took just 45 minutes to come up with a not guilty verdict.

“After that, I went through all the police statements and was looking for a reason why they murdered Anthony” recalled Wesley “What I found was that the day after they shot him, they raided all the houses, including Anthony’s house, and what they were retrieving were memory sticks…The connection to the memory stick was that Anthony had a VW scrap yard and he’d sold two air bags from the VW car which the police linked to a memory stick that had been stolen in Manchester

“I was trying to piece it all together but didn’t know what was on the memory stick until it came on the news that Greater Manchester Police had been fined over a memory stick that had gone missing” he added.

Before his death, Anthony Grainger had been arrested twice in connection with the memory stick, before the charges were dropped. Amongst other things on the stick were the names of 1075 police informants.

“The icing on the cake was when Yorkshire Police raided my daughter’s house just before Christmas, with no name on the warrant just the words `shotgun and cartridges'” Wesley recalled “When they raided the house and turned it upside down they were looking in hairdryers, going behind family photographs, so I think they were looking for the memory stick – or trying to intimidate me from doing what I’m doing, which is campaigning for my cousin.”

The alleged police obsession with the memory stick is now becoming central to the campaign’s search for circumstances surrounding Grainger’s death.

“I put this to you” concluded Wesley “What would be cheaper – to put 1075 police informants in police protection – or kill a man who they thought had the memory stick?”

Following Wesley Ahmed’s final speech, Gail Hadfield, Anthony Grainger’s partner, came onto the stage with her daughter.

“One year on and we’re still fighting for everything we believe” she said “As time goes by there’s less and less faith in the IPCC, and less and less faith in the police…”

She was too distraught to continue speaking…

http://www.salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=1722

Justice4Grainger campaign wins first victory

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Article from Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! October/November 2012 – http://www.frfi.co.uk

On 21 September, after a trial lasting nearly three weeks, the attempt by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to justify the police killing of Anthony Grainger failed when the jury found three men not guilty of conspiracy to rob. Shockingly, Anthony, although dead, had been named in the indictment alongside David Totton and Joseph Travers, passengers in the car when he was shot dead in March, and Robert Rimmer. The entire prosecution was an attempt by GMP to sully Anthony’s name and muddy the waters of the investigation into his death. It has failed. The Justice4Grainger campaign organised daily demonstrations outside the court with banners, placards and leaflets and chants of No Justice! No Peace!

At one point, from the public gallery campaign members saw Judge Henshaw reading a Justice4Grainger leaflet and discussing with the legal teams how to keep its information from the jury. The CPS had not wanted the police killing of Anthony to be a factor in the trial but their plans were now scuppered and the judge had to inform the jury that Anthony Grainger would feature in the case and that he had been shot dead by the police but stressed that: ‘the circumstances surrounding Mr Grainger’s death are not relevant to any issues in the case’. The judge also asked the media not to report the demonstration. The Manchester Evening News followed the judge’s instructions, instead covering the trial under the headline, ‘Man shot dead by police “had central role in robbery plot”’, thus colluding with the GMP’s smear campaign.

Justice4Grainger’s court demonstrations were the latest in a summer of events. In July it held a successful street stall in Warrington, near where Anthony was shot. In August the campaign was out leafleting and petitioning at the Caribbean Carnival in Moss Side, Manchester and on 18 August it filled a coach to Birmingham to join a march in memory of Kingsley Burrell, a local young black man who died after being wrongly detained under the Mental Health Act. This march, supported by the nationwide United Friends and Family Campaign (UFFC), linked activists from different campaigns against police and state killings. Anthony’s mother Marina spoke, saying she was determined to get justice for her son, as did Charles Chinweizu from FRFI, calling for unity with all those wanting to fight for justice. Other speakers included Kingsley’s mother and sister along with Marcia Rigg, sister of police custody victim Sean Rigg. The campaign also participated in the Wigan Diggers Festival and put up notices in the area where Anthony was killed, calling for any witnesses of the police killing to contact the family’s legal team.

As Wesley Ahmed, Anthony’s cousin and a leading member of the campaign, told FRFI: ‘We will be seeking out any witnesses to Anthony’s execution, we will also be informing the public that they [the GMP] have demonised Anthony’s character … all over the news. The papers work alongside the police, this is the first step in their cover-up. Remember the Hillsborough disaster? 96 cover-ups, and the press misled the public. 116 amendments to the police statements – why has it taken 23 years for the truth to come out? If the police can try and cover up 96 deaths what will they do when they murder one person?’

The campaign has broken the media silence; Granada Reports featured an interview with Wesley Ahmed in the lead report on local TV news. The campaign has consistently linked Anthony’s death to the over 50 people shot and killed by the police and 950 deaths in police custody since 1990. The TV news report featured Wesley and Carole Duggan, aunt of Mark Duggan, shot dead by police in London in August 2011.

On 3 September the public inquiry began into the death of Azelle Rodney, shot six times and killed by police in the back of a stopped car in London in 2005; it is the first time a public inquiry has been set up to examine a death caused by police shooting. After the initial Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation the CPS decided there was ‘insufficient evidence’ to proceed with a trial. It was due to the persistence of Azelle’s mother, Susan Alexander, that it has got this far.

The success of Justice4 Grainger so far is based on its democratic and inclusive nature; people participating include family and friends, supporters of the campaign JENGbA, FRFI and other socialist groups and individuals. As part of our commitment to developing links with other similar campaigns we are building for the national UFFC demonstration in London on 27 October.

Martin Hope, Bob Shepherd

Relative of Anthony Grainger speaks on UK police killing

Anthony Grainger
Anthony Grainger

Relative of Anthony Grainger speaks on UK police killing
From World Socialist Website – http://www.wsws.org
20 October 2012

On March 3 Anthony Grainger, 36, was executed by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in a preplanned operation while sitting in a parked car in the village of Culcheth in Cheshire, England.

Grainger was unarmed. He was killed by police wearing face masks, shot through his heart by a bullet from a Heckler and Koch MP5 submachine gun. No shots were fired at the police during the incident.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said a few days later that after a detailed search of the red Audi that Grainger was in, no weapons were found. The Crown Prosecution Service said it was “considering a range of potential offences against the officer—including manslaughter and murder.”

His two companions in the car, David Totten and Joseph Travers, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to rob. Another man, Robert Rimmer, was arrested the next day.

On September 3, Totten, Travers and Rimmer faced trial in Manchester Crown Court on charges of conspiracy to commit robbery. Grainger was also indicted in the case, a decision opposed by the “Justice for Grainger campaign 3/3/12”, who protested that he was dead and could not defend himself.

The proceedings took place with a heavily armed police presence inside the courtroom. After a three-week trial, in which only circumstantial evidence was produced by the prosecution, the jury, after just one hour’s deliberation, returned a unanimous not-guilty verdict. This was greeted with jubilation by the Grainger family and supporters of the campaign.

After the verdict, Gail Hadfield, Anthony Grainger’s partner, commented to the Manchester Evening News, “Through the whole trial the police have just been trying to cover their own backs. All along the police have been trying to make up their own version of what the lads where up to that day and this verdict has blown that out of the water. This is a massive breakthrough. This feels like a big stepping stone in proving to the public that the police were wrong to open fire and towards getting justice for Anthony.”

GMP Deputy Chief Constable Ian Hopkins merely stated that “Greater Manchester Police notes today’s verdict.”

After the verdict, Marina Ahmed, Anthony’s mother, and Wesley Ahmed, his cousin, appeared on the local TV news programme Granada Reports. Marina said, “This has destroyed my family, his two children are devastated. This man [the police officer who killed Anthony] needs to be charged with my son’s death.”

Marina said she was pleased with the verdict, “as it vindicated Anthony and what we have been saying all along.”

Wesley said, “It justifies why I am campaigning for my cousin and not just for Anthony but for all the other families as well.”

Wesley and his partner Linda spoke to the World Socialist Web Site about the campaign and its future plans in light of the verdict. Marina was unable to speak to the WSWS due to illness caused by the stress of her son’s killing and the trial.

Wesley told us the not-guilty verdict had “vindicated Anthony and the other defendants and left the state with no justification for executing our Anthony, he was not a violent criminal.”

Wesley connected the police attempt to cover up the murder with recent revelations concerning the suppression of evidence of those responsible for the Hillsborough Football Stadium disaster in Sheffield, which led on April 15, 1989, to the deaths of 96 Liverpool Football Club supporters.

The immediate reaction of the police and government was to vilify the Liverpool supporters, blaming them for the tragedy. After 23 years of campaigning for the truth, the families, friends and supporters of those who died have only now been allowed access to files that reveal a massive state cover-up.

Wesley said he is in contact with members of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign. He also commented on the miners’ strike of 1984-1985, when striking miners faced the full force of the state, culminating in the jailing of 200 strikers. “If our campaign manages to get a conviction against the state, we are hoping this will happen with every injustice in the country,” he said. “This should go back to the time before Hillsborough, to the miners and reopen the cases against them and demand new inquiries into the convictions in which they were jailed.

“We want to join with the Hillsborough campaign. We see that we all have to unite. Hillsborough came at a good time for us as well, as it showed the state up to be liars.”

Wesley spoke about the upcoming United Family and Friends Campaign (UFFC) annual rally in London. The UFFC notes that no police officer has ever stood trial for the murder of an innocent civilian and calls for genuine independent investigation of deaths in police custody, rather than the whitewashes carried out by the IPCC.

“As far as I can see these campaigns have been suffocated and they need stirring up,” Wesley said. “Being dignified doesn’t get you anywhere. Our campaign is more vibrant. That is why we need to keep broadening the horizons. It’s not a matter of black or white. It’s poor people being killed.

“If Anthony had been rich he’d still be alive. It’s a class issue.”

Wesley contrasted the media outcry over the recent killing of two police officers in Greater Manchester with the fact that “when the police kill a civilian there is hardly any news, except a police smear campaign to demonise the victim. We have had to go to Culcheth and put our own leaflets out asking for witnesses to come forward.”

Linda commented that the executio

n of Anthony “has changed my outlook forever. You view everything completely different. You question everything on the news. What you used to trust, you don’t trust anymore.”

In regard to the ultimate outcome o

f the Grainger case, Wesley commented, “There will be a charge of murder and all those involved in the operation that night will be held accountable. This case is unique. The not guilty verdict means that the state had no justification for executing our Anthony. We will not stop until we get justice.”