The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee (Committee) in its Inquiry on Young Black People and the Criminal Justice System (CJS), found that they were over-represented due to discriminatory factors. 1 Furthermore, there have been patterns of persecution of people of African descent stemming from chattel slavery over 400 years. It is argued that the two are linked. There has been the an historical desire by the state to control black men, for instance witnessed in Britain, 2 the USA 3 and apartheid South Africa. 4 Slavery, colonialism, apartheid and institutional racism tend to be divorced from each other as separate and distinct episodes in history, but it is argued here that they form a tapestry in which the race relations between primarily black men and state and non-state actors interconnect when it comes to highly dangerous discriminatory practices. This chapter considers controversial deaths in custody of black people which arise from the use of lethal force 5 or from the failure of a duty of care by state actors and private actors carrying out state functions in order to detain black people by the police, prison and mental health services and private security firms. 6 It also focuses on the failure on the part of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to prosecute state and non-state actors involved in these deaths. INQUEST, a campaign group concerned with custodial deaths, shows that a disproportionate number of those who die following police custody where the use of physical restraint is employed are from the black and minority ethnic communities (BAME). 7 This chapter aims to situate these controversial black deaths in custody as an instance of the racism that has come down from chattel slavery times to its culmination in institutional racism.