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Death in custody mum speaks out

QUESTIONS: Jossette Foster

THE HEARTBROKEN mum of a young man who fell to his death from a tower block during a police visit is urging the community to protest against black deaths involving police.

Jossette Fraser, mother of Demetre Fraser, who died on May 31, will be among those leading the March for Justice rally planned for this Saturday.

The march will start in Hockley in Birmingham and is aimed at highlighting the recent spate of black men who have died in incidents involving the police.

Fraser will be joined by the families of reggae singer Smiley Culture and Kingsley Burrell both of whom died on March 15 and March 27, respectively in suspicious circumstances after police officers were called.

Ms Fraser told The Voice: “Yesterday, it was for one mother, today it was for me. Tomorrow, it could be for you. Just try to remember that. It is time to stand up right now because everyone knows someone who knows someone that has died suspiciously, been beaten, wrongfully arrested or wrongfully charged at the hands of the police. We have to change the law.”

The March for Justice is part of an ongoing campaign for a public enquiry into deaths in custody and to pressure the Government to change legislation.

Fraser, who will speak at the event said: “My son is not the only one. There are other mothers who have lost children. I want to unite with them. They say united we will stand and divided we shall fall. I want us all to now unite.”

21-year-old Demetre Fraser from Nunhead, south London, was living in Birmingham temporarily while on bail charged with petty assault on his girlfriend, a charge she later withdrew.

West Midlands Police claim they found Demetre Fraser’s body at the foot of the tower block when they came to speak with him about a reported breach of his curfew conditions.

However Mrs Fraser rejects West Midlands Police’s version of events surrounding her son’s death.

She said neighbours told her they overheard a huge commotion on the morning Demetre died.

“I don’t believe they found him at the bottom,” she told The Voice. She said her son was a happy young man, who had never been depressed and had plans to go back to college and do something positive with his life.

“He had so much plans so why would he commit suicide? I am so shocked. I am so heartbroken...I feel so much pain. I have already had to bury one son. I lost my first baby to cot death and that alone was so much pain and this was the second boy to come along. Now they have just come and taken him. They have cut his life so short.

He only just turned 21. He was just beginning his life. I just want them to tell me what happened to my boy that morning. All I want to know is the truth of what happened.”

His family are now in contact with a lawyer in a bid to get justice. They are demanding that the two police officers who were present when Demetre died are immediately suspended.

The IPCC has since referred the matter back to West Midlands Police’s Professional Standards Department who will carry out an inquiry.

A coach is leaving Brixton at 7am on July 2. To go, please call Bella Blake on 07789 685208. It will cost £11 per person to cover costs.

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