Jury finds police at fault for 1989 Hillsborough disaster
A British jury has found police responsible for the 1989 disaster at Hillsborough Stadium that left 96 people dead, 25 years after an inquiry laid the blame on the fans for the incident.
The jury was asked to rule on 14 questions about the incident, in which Liverpool fans were suffocated and trampled to death amid confusion before a FA Cup semifinal match against Nottingham Forest, including whether police mistakes amounted to “unlawful killing.”
The jury answered yes to the question, and dismissed the claim that the fans caused the confusion, an assertion made by police officials in a 1991 inquiry.
The recent inquiry, which started in 2014, was not a criminal investigation, meaning no civil damages will be paid out to the victims.
After the ruling was announced, families of the victims emerged from the courtroom singing the team’s motto “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Rob Harris of the Associated Press reports that 22 families demand the resignation of South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable David Crompton for letting the “police force down.”
The 1989 incident occurred when police opened an exit gate at Hillsborough Stadium, the home ground of Sheffield Wednesday, to relieve congestion in front of the stadium before the match. However, as fans rushed into the game, those at front were crushed on metal fences around the field.
Immediately afterwards, police falsely claimed that fans had opened the gate, one of several false statements made by police in the aftermath of the disaster.