Met should investigate death of man days after he was handcuffed, watchdog says
The Metropolitan Police should investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of a man two days after he was handcuffed by officers, a watchdog has decided.
The force previously said the man, in his 30s, was “briefly” placed in handcuffs by officers responding to reports he was carrying a knife and behaving “erratically” in Wood Green, north London, on Thursday.
He was taken to a north London hospital by ambulance where he died on Saturday evening after his condition deteriorated.
On Monday, Scotland Yard said the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) had determined an investigation into the incident should be handled by the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS).
Police previously said officers were called to a home in James Gardens at around 8.10pm on Thursday following concerns for the welfare of a male occupant.
The man was reported to be in possession of a knife and behaving erratically and the people with him were “extremely concerned” at his behaviour, the Met said.
The force said that when officers arrived at the scene they found the man in “clear distress” and tried to calm him down before realising he required medical help and calling London Ambulance Service (LAS).
Officers feared the man may harm himself or other people so placed him briefly in handcuffs, the Met added.
He was taken by ambulance to a north London hospital where his condition deteriorated and he died just before 7pm on Saturday.
Detective Chief Inspector Aman Dhaliwal of the DPS, overseeing the investigation, said the force’s thoughts were with the man’s friends and family “who have lost him in very sudden and upsetting circumstances”.
He said the Met alerted the IOPC “as soon as the man was taken unwell” as part of its procedures, and later submitted a formal referral.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct have determined that the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of a man in #WoodGreen should be conducted by the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards.https://t.co/HNOC4X3AB9
The IOPC referred the investigation back “to be progressed locally” by the DPS after being “presented with all of the available evidence”, he said.
Mr Dhaliwal added: “I recognise that the deceased was a man with strong ties to his community, and that his untimely loss has caused considerable shock and concern.
“I would ask that people please refrain from speculating on the circumstances surrounding his death, both out of respect for his family, and to avoid causing upset in the community before all of the facts have been established.
“Let me be crystal clear that the referral back to the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) does not at all mean the incident is considered any less serious.
“The Directorate of Professional Standards will retain independent oversight and thoroughly examine body-worn video and first-hand accounts from every officer who attended the incident, as well as other witnesses, to fully understand what has happened.”
The man’s family are being supported by a family liaison officer, while a post-mortem examination is due to be held on Tuesday, police said.