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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 November, 2003, 17:39 GMT
March for custody death man
Protestors at the demonstration
Demonstrators marched to Thornhill Road police station
Five hundred people have taken part in a protest march in Birmingham in memory of a man who died after being arrested by police.

Factory worker Michael Powell was arrested outside his mother's home in Lozells on 7 September.

Protestors marched to Thornhill Road police station in Handsworth where the 38-year-old collapsed and later died in hospital.

Roads around the station were sealed off and riot police stood behind a large metal barrier placed across the road around the corner from the building.

Angry protesters shouted abuse at police as relatives repeatedly called for a peaceful demonstration.

The two mile march started at 1300 GMT from the family home in Wheeler Street in Lozells.

Traders, shoppers and residents lined the streets as demonstrators slowly walked by holding banners which read "Another death in police custody. We remember Mikey Powell".

Prayers in tribute

Michael Powell's partner, Marcia Williams, 34, and their three children were among the demonstrators and she said the march was held to get justice for Michael's death.

"There is a huge amount of feeling in the community about the police. We feel the officers involved should be taken off duty while the investigation goes on."

She added: "I know Mikey is looking down on us today and I am going to be strong for him. I will get justice for him."

The organisers of the march will not be charged for policing it after West Midlands Police waived the cost of sending officers to the event.

Marcia Williams
Girlfriend Marcia Williams says she will get justice for Michael Powell

Bishop Derek Webley led prayers in tribute to Mr Powell while relatives laid bouquets of flowers at the front door of the police station which had been closed for the day.

Mr Powell was in an accident with a patrol car during a struggle to detain him, although a pathologist said the blow caused only minor injuries.

The officers who arrested the factory worker had been called by his mother, who was concerned about her son's behaviour.

A cause of death has yet to be established.

An independent inquiry by Northamptonshire Police is investigating whether the arresting officers acted lawfully.

An inquest has been opened and adjourned by Birmingham coroner Aidan Cotter.


SEE ALSO:
Funeral of custody death victim
03 Oct 03  |  West Midlands
Campaign group help family
19 Sep 03  |  West Midlands
Police custody death inquiry opens
10 Sep 03  |  West Midlands
Man dies in police custody
07 Sep 03  |  West Midlands


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