Awhile ago I wrote about Hillsborough. Recently I have revisted the disaster. The families of the 96 people who died have been trying for 30 years to discover the truth of what happened and to hold someone responsible. The main policemen was charged, but aquitted last month in a court trial. 3 years before that a court inquest found that the 96 people had been unlawfully killed. Still, no one person is being held accountable. I did read that one person has been found guilty. But I have some observations:
- Four years before the Hillsborough disaster there was Heysel riot in which some 40 people died. Liverpool fans were largely to blame.
- The main policeman was concerned more about problems from Liverpool fans than keeping the specatators safe.
- The main policemen was put in charge 19 days before the big game. Apparently the man who had been in charge was moved due to some internal problems.
- The new main guy did not know the stadium, and did not take the time to learn about it from the former main guy.
- The main policemen was expecting problems from rioting fans from liverpool.
So when you expect something to happen often times it does happen. The police were so focused on “bad” fans that when the problem happened they assumed it was what they were expecting. It took several minutes for the police to recognize that there was a crush in the two stalls 3 and 4 behind the goal. The tunnel leading into the stalls was not closed (as it had been in the past when the stalls, or pens, were full. Once going down the tunnel it was not possible to go back, to get out. This has been confirmed from witness accounts of people who survived the event. See, there were fences (c 10 feet tall I think) to keep fans in the pens. Some people ended up pinned against the fences. Others were stuck in a churning that happened as people came into the pens. For many, there was little way to escape. Some crawled over the fence, others were pulled to the upper level by fans who saw what was happening.
It is worth mentioning that today the fencing has been taken down and seats have been put into place where stading room only used to be. Hillsborough families have spent 30 years trying to find the truth, and getting someone to be accountable for the mistakes. The 96 dead are only part of it though. Some 50,000 fans were there.
Moira Levant Jan. 14 2020