Original Article can be found at: Evening Standard
08 May 2013
Scotland Yard is refusing to allow officers to be questioned under caution over the death of a university student who was forcibly restrained by police at a psychiatric hospital, a watchdog claimed today.
University graduate Olaseni Lewis, 23, collapsed and slipped into a coma after he was held down by up to 11 police officers at the Bethlem Royal Hospital in Beckenham in August 2010.
He was put on a life-support machine and died four days later.
Now a police watchdog has accused the Metropolitan Police of refusing to co-operate with a two-and-a-half year inquiry into the death.
In a strongly worded statement the Independent Police Complaints Commission revealed that it had “directed” the Met to “re-refer” the incident to them as a “recordable conduct matter”.
A spokeswoman said: “That would allow the IPCC to interview the officers under criminal caution. The Met has refused to do so.”
The watchdog said the move came after it had reviewed its initial inquiry following concerns from the family.
However, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan, head of the Met’s professional standards, said the force had received legal advice that it would be “unlawful” to refer the matter back to the IPCC. She said: “We are very disappointed that the IPCC has suggested that the Met is now refusing to cooperate with them. This is not the case.”
Mr Lewis, who was studying for a masters degree in business at Kingston University, became unwell after a night out with friends in August 2010.
His family became concerned about his behaviour and he voluntarily admitted himself to the psychiatric hospital. Within hours Mr Lewis became agitated and staff first tried to restrain him before calling for police help. Olaseni’s mother, Ajibola, told the Standard: “Why they can’t just allow for the officers to be questioned we just don’t know.”
A CPS spokesperson said: “After careful consideration of all the evidence the CPS will advise the IPCC, including on whether any charges should or should not be brought.”