This week the mother of Ricky Reel launched a petition following revelations that her family was spied upon, along with a number of others, as they campaigned for justice in the ‘90s.
Mrs Reel is the mother of Ricky who was 20-years-old when he was found dead in the River Thames after being racially abused by two men in 1997. According to the family ‘the police said that they were never able to establish exactly how he died, that it must have been an accident. We spent years pushing for a proper investigation, to get justice for our son. We’ve now found out that because we were questioning their investigations, they spied on us.’
The latest confirmations of police spying come after an investigation was initiated following allegations that the family of Stephen Lawrence was spied upon in their campaign for justice following his racially motivated murder in 1993. A report published last week by Mick Creedon (the Chief Constable Derbyshire police) into the activities of the Special Demonstration Squad and its monitoring of family-based campaigns found that, in addition to the Lawrence family, seventeen other campaigns ‘have been identified so far. These range between 1970 and 2005 and are as a result of deaths in police custody, following police contact and the victims of murders’. They include the families of Stephen Lawrence, Cherry Groce, Rolan Adams, Michael Menson, Joy Gardner, Jean Charles de Menezes, Harry Stanley and more.
In her petition, Mrs Reel is calling on the Home Secretary to immediately:
- Seek a public apology from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to all the families affected by police spying and take action against police officers for any wrongdoing;
- Assure us that that family justice campaigns would be consulted when drawing the terms of reference for the Public Inquiry into undercover policing;
- Assure us that affected families will be provided with legal aid so that they can be properly legally represented at the Public Inquiry;
- Assure us that the practice of police ‘spying’ of family justice campaigns has stopped.
You can sign the petition here.