British prosecutors charged six people Wednesday in connection with the deaths of 96 soccer fans who were trampled during the 1989 F.A. Cup semifinal match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium.
The incident began on April 15, 1989 after police, in an attempt to relieve a bottleneck of Liverpool fans outside Sheffield’s Hillsborough Stadium, opened an exit gate before kickoff. This prompted thousands of fans to funnel into the overcrowded stadium, causing a stampede that trampled hundreds of people. In addition to the 96 people that were killed, more than 700 others were injured.
David Duckenfield, the then-match commander for the South Yorkshire Police, was charged with manslaughter by gross negligence. Sue Hemming, the head of the Crown Prosecution Service’s special crime and counter-terrorism division, said CPS would allege Duckenfield’s failure to take personal responsibility for the incident was “extraordinarily bad and contributed to the deaths of each of those 96 people who so tragically and unnecessarily lost their lives.”
Hemming noted that the manslaughter charge would only apply to the 95 people who died on the day of the incident—the 96th, Anthony Bland, died four years later after he was taken off life support.