UK promises major inquiry into 1989 stadium disaster

A UK watchdog launched its biggest-ever investigation into police action, opening a new inquiry Friday into the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster that left 96 dead and whole communities angry over a decades-long police cover-up.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said a large number of serving or retired officers would be investigated over what happened on April 15, 1989 — the day officers herded around 2,000 Liverpool fans into caged-in enclosures that were already full during an FA Cup semifinal between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the stadium in Sheffield.

Dozens died amid the crush, many due to lack of attention from police and emergency services. Suggestions from police and the press that drunken fans themselves may have been responsible also led to a poisonous legacy of hurt, suspicion, and mistrust.

Commission Deputy Chair Deborah Glass acknowledged Friday that the investigation had been a long time coming. "Justice demands that we do whatever is possible to investigate culpability for any offence that may have been committed, and to do so thoroughly and fairly," she said in a statement.

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