Deaths at the hands of the police

15 June 1974 Kevin Gately, 20, died when demonstrators from Liberation and the National Front clashed with police in central London. The cause of death, alleged to be a blow to the head from a police truncheon, was never proved.

23 April 1979 Blair Peach, a schoolteacher from New Zealand, died at an anti-National Front demonstration. Eyewitnesses reported that he was hit over the head by a policeman, but no inquiry took place.

5 October 1985 Cynthia Jarrett’s death from a heart attack, as police searched her north London home, caused outrage and sparked the Broadwater Farm Riots.

28 July 1993 Joy Gardner, an illegal immigrant, died of a brain haemorrhage during a raid on her flat. Three policemen were tried for her manslaughter, but were later acquitted.

16 December 1994 Shiji Lapite asphyxiated in a police van in east London. The inquest recorded a verdict of unlawful killing. No charges were brought.

8 May 1995 Brian Douglas died after police fractured his skull with a baton while arresting him in south London. A verdict of death by misadventure was recorded.

5 December 1995 Wayne Douglas died in police custody after his arrest. A ruling of accidental death sparked riots in Brixton, but a fresh inquest was ruled out in 1998.

16 March 1996 Ibrahima Sey (right), an asylum-seeker, asphyxiated in custody. An inquest returned a verdict of unlawful killing. Those involved were neither disciplined nor prosecuted.

21 August 2008 Sean Rigg collapsed in custody at Brixton Police Station and died two hours later. His case raised questions about police treatment of the mentally ill. The investigation is still open.

22 March 2005 The charity worker Simon Murden was shot dead driving the wrong way up a dual carriageway. An inquest ruled officers were justified in firing at him.

22 July 2005 Jean Charles de Menezes was shot eight times in the head at Stockwell Tube station. The inquest reached an open verdict and no officer has been charged.

1 April 2009 Ian Tomlinson died of a heart attack during the G20 protests. Initially the police reported no contact with Tomlinson; video footage later showed he had been pushed to the ground by police in riot gear.

This article first appeared in the 20 April 2009 issue of the New Statesman, Who polices our police?