The family of Belly Mujinga and thousands of protesters have taken to the streets to express their outrage since the British Transport Police released a statement last week saying there is "no evidence to substantiate any criminal [offenses] having taken place" following her death, according to BBC News.
Blavity previously reported that Mujinga died on April 5 from complications related to COVID-19 after she was spat on while working at the railway ticket office in London's Victoria station on March 21.
Multiple British news outlets covered the tragic story of Mujinga's husband and daughter trying to cope with the loss while seeking justice. The family and others demanded police find the man who spat on her and charge him with a crime.
But on May 29, the British Transport Police released a statement saying they interviewed a 57-year-old man in the case and would not be moving forward with any charges.
According to BBC, the police closed the case because the man they found to have spat on Mujinga tested negative after just one antibody test.
"I know the loss of Belly has moved so many people, and I can assure you we have done everything we can to provide answers for her family. As a result of our inquiries, we can now be confident that this incident did not lead to Belly's tragic death. Our thoughts remain with her family and we will continue to support them as they come to terms with the loss of their much-loved mother and wife," Detective Chief Inspector Sam Blackburn told BBC.
“Following a review of all the information available, including the CCTV footage, witness statements and explanations given in interviews, senior detectives concluded that there was insufficient evidence to substantiate that any criminal [offenses] had taken place and that the death of Mrs. Mujinga did not occur as a consequence of that incident,” the British Transport Police (BTP) said in a statement.
“In order to consider whether any actions contributed to Mrs. Mujinga contracting coronavirus and her subsequent tragic passing, it would be necessary to first have evidence of spitting or another action that might lead to infection, and therefore have a direct causal link,” the statement continued.
The BTP released another statement on Friday reiterating that it had not found that the man did anything wrong.
"We can assure the public that we have comprehensively reviewed all the available evidence and have not identified any [offenses] or [behavior] that meets the threshold for prosecution," the police statement read.
Black people across the United Kingdom have since protested, demanding the police reopen the case and prosecute the man who spat on Mujinga.
I’m happy I captured them ????
These are real emotions and the media won’t show you them! pic.twitter.com/uzFltxd1a4
— Sama_kai ???????? (@OfficialSamaKai) June 4, 2020
Mujinga's husband, Lusamba Katalay, was outraged at the statement from police and their decision to essentially question whether Mujinga had been spat on at all. Katalay sent a statement to The Guardian denouncing the decision.
“Black lives do matter. Belly’s life mattered. It mattered to me, to our daughter, our friends and family, to Belly’s colleagues, and now it matters to many thousands of you out there," he told The Guardian.
"We want justice for Belly. Belly didn’t lie about being assaulted. Belly and her colleague were confronted and intimidated as frontline workers and their concerns and their fears were ignored. We continue to have questions after the police investigation,” Katalay added.
Since the protests have grown in size and fury, the BTP has requested the Crown Prosecution Service to look through the evidence, BBC News reported.
The case has garnered outrage on social media as protests related to George Floyd's killing have taken over dozens of countries around the world. Protesters took to the streets last week to chant Mujinga's name alongside Floyd's.
Crowds chant “George Floyd” and “Belly Mujinga” as the #BlackLivesMatter protest leaves Hyde Park, heading toward Parliament. LBC Senior Reporter @mattuthompson has the latest from the demonstration. pic.twitter.com/WW1WQHK6a1
— LBC News (@LBCNews) June 3, 2020
Even British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke about Mujinga's death to Parliament.
'The fact she was abused for doing her job is utterly appalling.'
— ITV News (@itvnews) May 13, 2020
On Friday, Katalay shared what he hoped would happen going forward in a Change.org petition.
"The public reaction to the British Transport Police closing the case into the incident my wife experienced at Victoria Station has taken us by surprise. At the same time, the righteous anger over the killing of George Floyd swelled in America, here in the UK and across the world. On Wednesday, thousands of people protested in London to cry it loud that Black Lives Matter," he wrote.
"We were there, united in our anger and our grief. United in our determination to be heard and in our determination to get change. We need change so badly. … We want to know why she was sent out to work unprotected on the station concourse that day. We want to know why she was working when she had a respiratory condition," he added.
He ended the statement with a request for people to take a brief moment and think of Mujinga.
"Today, it’s two months since Belly died in hospital from coronavirus. Two months since I lost my wife and our daughter lost her mother. We ask you to take a moment today to think about Belly, and about all the transport workers who have died from this terrible virus and all those putting their lives on the line to keep our country moving," Katalay said.