Two men arrested over theft of David Oluwale plaque

West Yorkshire Police have issued a statement.

A man has been arrested on suspicion of the theft of the blue plaque in Leeds that was recently placed on display to commemorate the life and legacy of David Oluwale.

The blue plaque has been missing since Monday 25 April, just hours after its unveiling.

West Yorkshire police have made an official statement this morning, commenting that two men have now been arrested in connection with the hate crime:

“A man has been arrested this morning on suspicion of the theft of the blue plaque commemorating the life and legacy of David Oluwale.

“The man, aged in his thirties, was arrested at an address in Leeds at 8am this morning on suspicion of the theft of the plaque, which was taken from Leeds Bridge on Monday, April 25.

“He remains in custody and enquiries are ongoing.

“We are aware that an earlier arrest has been highlighted over the weekend and can confirm that another man was arrested on April 28 on suspicion of the theft of the plaque following information received. He was later released under investigation.

“A further suspect was also identified on April 28, and arrest enquiries for him remain ongoing.”

plaque on motorway.
Image: Cllr Jonathon Pyror

Read More: A new bridge will be built in Leeds to commemorate the legacy of David Oluwale

Whilst the plaque itself may still no longer be up in Leeds, the city has come together to spread a message of love for the plaque in a unique way and sharing images of the plaque across the city across billboards and screens.

Millennium Square, Leeds Markets; Leeds Playhouse and The Hyde Park Picture House are all sharing a photograph of the blue plaque on their screens and digital screen company JCDecaux are showing it around the city in support too.

Cllrs Pryor, Walshaw & Garthwaite shared the message, stating: “It’s been inspiring to see Leeds uniting against hate and racism. You can take down a plaque, but you can’t silence the message!”

Image: Headingley, Hyde Park & Woodhouse News

About David Oluwale…

After his death, David Oluwale became the first successful prosecution of British police officers for involvement in the death of a black person, according to BBC reports. This historic moment has been commemorated so far through a string of moving books and plays, but Leeds City Council now want to add a bridge in his name to remember the importance of his legacy.

Sadly, David Oluwale was said to have drowned the River Aire in 1969 and was said to have been tragically targeted because of his mental health, homelessness and race.

According to the charity, Remember Oluwale “From 1953 to 1969 he endured mental ill-health, homelessness, racism, destitution and police persecution, culminating in what we believe to be his drowning on 18th April 1969 in the River Aire, near Leeds Bridge, at the hands of two policemen.”

They believe it’s important to remember Oluwale because: “From 1953 onwards, the institutions of Leeds systematically failed David Oluwale. In the 1960s, as he slept rough and moved from prison to hospital and back again, and particularly when his brutalisation by two Leeds policemen was exposed, Leeds was being formed as a city marked by racism and abuse of the vulnerable. David’s story is emblematic of this urban abjection. We need to understand this period if we are to re-form the city.”

Feature Image- Headingley, Hyde Park & Woodhouse News

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