Police restraint contributed to Kevin Clarke’s death, inquest finds

Kevin Clarke
Kevin Clarke

source: The Canary
published: 10 October 2020

An inquest released on 9 October concluded that excessive use of force by Metropolitan Police Officers and “serious failures” by public service providers contributed to Kevin Clarke’s death in police custody.

Clarke, a 35-year-old man, died following restraint by Metropolitan Police officers in Lewisham on 9 March 2018. On body camera footage, Clarke can be heard telling officers: “I can’t breathe” and “I’m going to die”.

According to INQUEST, the medical cause of Clarke’s death was “Acute Behavioural Disturbance (in a relapse of schizophrenia) leading to exhaustion and cardiac arrest contributed to by restraint struggle and being walked.” Clarke was experiencing a mental health crisis, and needed to be taken to a safe place. Instead, he was met with inappropriate restraint and negligence.

Public service failures
Evidence was heard at the inquest that the officers had recognised signs of mental ill health and were aware of the risks of restraint. In spite of this, Clarke was handcuffed with his hands behind his back, and had leg restraints placed on him. The police called an ambulance, but failed to communicate their concerns about his mental ill health.

The inquiry also highlighted serious failures involving the London Ambulance Service, which failed to provide basic medical care. Paramedics failed to conduct a complete clinical assessment of Clarke’s condition or provide clinical advice.

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