Thursday, June 29, 2017

Justice for Hillsborough?

In April 1989, 96 people were killed and over 700 injured in a crush at Hillsborough stadium in the UK. In the wake of the disaster, the police and other officials blamed the victims. In 2012, those lies were exposed, and responsibility for the deaths firmly laid at the feet of the police. In 2016, a new inquest found that the victims had been unlawfully killed by police. And now, finally, nearly thirty years after the disaster, those responsible have been charged:

Six people, including two former senior police officers, have been charged with criminal offences over the 96 deaths in the Hillsborough disaster and the alleged police cover-up that followed.

David Duckenfield, the South Yorkshire officer who was in command of policing at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in 1989, has been charged with the manslaughter of 95 people.


Sir Norman Bettison, the former chief constable of Merseyside and West Yorkshire police, who was an inspector in the South Yorkshire force at the time of the disaster, has been charged with four counts of misconduct in a public office.


Graham Mackrell, the Sheffield Wednesday chief executive and officially designated safety officer for the Hillsborough stadium, has also been charged with breaching the terms of the ground’s safety certificate and failing to take reasonable care under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The three other men are all charged with doing acts with intent to pervert the course of justice, for the process by which statements made by South Yorkshire police officers on duty at Hillsborough were subsequently reviewed and changed.

Hillsborough is the British establishment in a nutshell: a disaster caused by those in power, covered up with reflexive lies and victim-blaming, followed by decades of fake "investigations" and foot-dragging in an effort to wait out public anger. But it has finally caught up with them, and hopefully those responsible will be convicted and go to jail. It also shows how broken the British system is: justice should not take thirty years. It should not be this hard, when those in power commit crimes, to hold them to account. But I guess that's what happens when those in power arrange things to suit themselves, and treat everyone else as disposable peons. And the only way of fixing it is to sweep away that establishment. Otherwise, we'll likely see a similar display of official lies and foot-dragging over Grenfell Tower.