Serving police called to back sacked PC on secret website Facebook support group for officer fired in Burrell arrest death scandal
POLICE are investigating a secret Facebook site which calls on officers to stage a counter-protest to a demonstration planned to demand justice for Kingsley Burrell, who died in custody.
The call was made on Facebook page “Support for PC Adey”, which describes itself as a “secret group with 1,200 members” and contains messages from supporters, some of whom appear to be serving officers.
PC Paul Adey was sacked by West Midlands Police last month for breaching standards over the restraint used on Mr Burrell after he was arrested and sectioned in 2011.
The secret Facebook site can be seen only by members and former members, but the Post has seen some of the comments.
Many condemn the former officer’s treatment and are critical of community activist Desmond Jaddoo and Charlie Williams, leading members of the Kingsley Burrell campaign.
West Midlands Police said it was looking into the site. A spokesman said: “We are looking into whether any of these comments have been made by officers and staff of West Midlands Police.
“We expect the highest standards of those who work in the organisation. The Code of Ethics sets and defines the standard of behaviour expected for everyone who works in policing.”
Both Mr Jaddoo and Mr Williams have described the Facebook group’s existence as proof of a rogue element within the West Midlands force, and have called on the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Independent Office for Police Conduct to scrutinise the social media site. The two men decided to pull the plug on a Birmingham city centre march, which was to have taken place on Saturday, after officers were urged to stage their own show of support for their ousted colleague. The pair made the decision on public safety grounds. A message on “Support for PC Adey” calls on all police officers, staff and their families who are off duty to stage their own march in support of “Paul and the boys”, saying that everyone is entitled to peacefully protest and has the right to assemble.
It asked officers to meet at Newtown, and hoped that the counter-protest would outnumber the planned Burrell demo.
A police misconduct panel found PC Adey guilty of giving a false account of Mr Burrell’s collapse. Two other officers, PC Mark Fannon and PC Paul Greenfield, were cleared of allegations of using excessive force and giving dishonest accounts.
Supporters say they are sick of what they see as untruths and the way the police are portrayed in a bad light.
The postponed demonstration by the Burrell family’s supporters was a protest over the two cleared officers’ return to full duty in Birmingham city centre.
“We decided to pull back on the march because we feared for public safety,” said Mr Jaddoo. “We don’t want to be accused of starting a riot.
“This Facebook group shows West Midlands Police need to put their house in order because there are major issues that are draining trust and confidence. If West Midlands Police are baffled over why they met with a wall of silence, it is because of rogue elements of this nature.”
Mr Burrell, aged 29, died of cardiac arrest days after being detained. He had been arrested and sectioned after alleging that he had been threatened with a gun in Birmingham. While being physically restrained at a psychiatric unit, a cover was partially placed over his face to stop him spitting, the misconduct hearing was told.
The panel decided PC Adey had lied about not seeing the cover on Mr Burrell’s face and failed in his duty of care by not removing it – but he was cleared of an allegation of using excessive force.
At the hearing, held at Sutton Coldfield Police Station, the policeman was dismissed without notice for gross misconduct.
>PC Paul Adey (right) and the ‘Support for PC Adey’ Facebook site (above)