Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Justice long delayed

The Guardian has a wonderful piece on the Hillsborough disaster. Read it; it's well worth your time.

A taste:
The evidence built into a startling indictment of South Yorkshire police, their chain of command and conduct – a relentlessly detailed evisceration of a British police force. Responsible for an English county at the jeans-and-trainers end of the 1980s, the force had brutally policed the miners’ strike, and was described by some of its own former officers as “regimented”, with morning parade and saluting of officers, ruled by “an iron fist” institutionally unable to admit mistakes.

The dominance of Wright, a decorated career police officer who died in 2011, loomed over the catastrophe. He was depicted as a frighteningly authoritarian figure who treated the force “like his own personal territory” and whose orders nobody – tragically – dared debate.

The families of those killed in the “pens” of Hillsborough’s Leppings Lane terrace, who have had to fight 27 years for justice and accountability, recalled the appalling way the South Yorkshire police treated them, even when breaking the news of loved ones’ deaths. Relatives and survivors recalled indifference, even hostility, in the unfolding horror – although the families’ lawyers thanked individual officers who did their valiant best to help victims. Then there was the unspeakably heartless identification process in the football club gymnasium, after which CID officers immediately grilled families about how much they and their dead loved ones had had to drink.

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