By Jonathan Corke Daily Star 24th February 2013
AN ex-miner battered unconscious by police during the strikes of the 1980s said last night: “We need a public inquiry and an apology.”
Raymond Riley, 54, was among thousands of pickets beaten during the miners’ strike of 1984 and 1985.
The attack was so severe he was left “out of it” before police returned, dragged him into a colliery building and beat him again.
But, as in many cases, the officers who carried out the attacks were never disciplined or charged. Instead, Raymond was arrested and put before a court.
Like scores of other pickets, though, he was acquitted and later won compensation.
The miners are now hoping they can get justice for what Raymond calls a “shameful blight on the history of our country”.
An investigation into one of the biggest flash points –the Battle of Orgreave, South Yorkshire, – is close to being launched by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
But miners also want a public inquiry into the events.
Charity worker Raymond said: “It’s not revenge people want, it’s an acknowledgement of what the miners went through. Someone should be held to account.
“There wasn’t one police officer disciplined, suspended or jailed for any part they played.”
Raymond’s beating came five months after he witnessed the events at Orgreave. He and many others believe what happened on June 18, 1984 “opened the door for more aggressive policing”.
Pickets said there was “ritual” pushing and shoving “with no malice” but that riot police, mounted police and officers with dogs charged and battered them.
Raymond, 26 at the time, said: “Some of the abiding images I have is people just standing there observing, being struck around their heads, arm…any part of the body. I actually dragged a police officer off who was standing over this young chap hitting him with a truncheon.
“The police had two intentions – one was to maim and injure miners and the other was to arrest them.”
A total of 95 miners were arrested but all were later acquitted after police evidence was discredited.
In November that same year, Raymond was caught in a clash at Frickley Colliery, near Pontefract, West Yorkshire.
He said: “I was accosted by about four policemen and one hit me on the head with a truncheon. They left me for dead – I was totally out of it.”
But police returned and dragged Raymond back to the colliery.
He said: “They put me in the office. There were a couple of others in there and they made me lie with my arms and legs stretched out and walked around hitting us.”
He was later taken to hospital but spent 36 hours in police custody after being discharged.
He said: “They charged me with a public order offence but what the police didn’t know was that what happened was seen by two independent witnesses.”
Raymond was later awarded £60,000 damages. A jury found he had been assaulted, falsely imprisoned and maliciously prosecuted by West Yorkshire Police.
The IPCC is currently studying allegations of assault, perjury, perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public office in relation to Orgreave.