Thames Valley police officer warned over death in custody

Police Lantern UK

source: The Guardian
published: 20 September 2018

A Thames Valley police constable has received a written warning after he was found guilty of misconduct for failing to properly observe Leroy Junior Medford, 43, who died in custody last year from an overdose of heroin.

Medford was arrested near Reading at about 1.30pm on 1 April 2017 by Thames Valley police. After he became unwell, officers took him to Royal Berkshire hospital.

After he was discharged and returned to custody at Loddon Valley police station, he was found unresponsive in his cell at about 4am on Sunday and pronounced dead at 5:13am.

The officer tasked with watching Medford was subject to a misconduct meeting on Monday.

In a statement to the Guardian, Medford’s family welcomed the findings. They described Medford as a “loved brother, father and son” who was vulnerable at the time of his death.

The statement said: “His tragic death was caused by a fatal overdose of heroin after he was able to conceal and then swallow a large quantity of the drug whilst he was supposed to be under constant observation by Thames Valley police officers.”

The family added: “We cannot help but feel that the police officers’ failures to properly watch Junior and then properly consider how the drugs package could have just disappeared shows that officers disregarded Junior’s welfare and ultimately his life.”

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