ORGREAVE TRUTH AND JUSTICE CAMPAIGN STATEMENT ABOUT POLICE ASSAULT ON YOUNG FOOTBALL FAN

The horrific photos of the 16 year old football fan who appears to have been brutally attacked over the weekend by a member of South Yorkshire Police with a truncheon, are deeply disturbing. Images of the boy on the ground, have been posted all over social media with blood pouring out of a head wound. Our thoughts are very much with him and his family. He only went to a football match and instead was subject to what, at this stage, appears to be an unprovoked alleged assault.  

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign are pleased that South Yorkshire Police have launched an investigation into this incident to find out why this boy was so violently harmed. A transparent and open examination of the facts will be essential to establish the nature and consequences of this incident so that the public can be assured that, if any police officer has acted unlawfully, they can be dealt with appropriately and any failure of the police acting wrongly can be held to account.

During the 84/5 miners’ strike, on picket lines and at Orgreave, many striking miners were assaulted by the police, with serious blows to the head by truncheons. We have been campaigning for a thorough and authoritative investigation and inquiry into what happened at Orgreave. Many of those directly affected by those events, along with their families and communities, have long memories and need to be assured that the South Yorkshire police force of today is as determined as they and the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign is to ensure that in the present that justice will prevail. 

Kate Flannery, Secretary of the OTJC said: “Our call for a public inquiry was rejected by the Tory Home Secretary in 2016 on the basis that ‘nobody died at Orgreave, there had been no miscarriage of justice, policing had improved since 1984 and there was nothing new to learn’. It would be unacceptable if this latest incident goes on to show that not only has there been no improvement, but there has been an incident in which a young person has unlawfully sustained injuries, which could have potentially been fatal.”

John Dunn, OTJC activist and ex miner said: “When I was assaulted by a police officer deploying a serious life threatening blow to my head with a baton during the strike, I was arrested for ‘watching and besetting’ and given a criminal record. Many miners suffered the same fate. We hope we learn the truth about this incident and that this young football fan is given the justice and dignity he deserves”