Criticism after police restraint arrest led to death in the street
Compiled from various sources
published: Gaynor Kuye – December 2012
Updates on this case are listed at the foot of this item
43-year-old Faisal Al-Ani was arrested in Southend town centre on the evening of 31 July 2005 following a disturbance. CCTV footage has revealed how police officers carried a bruised and apparently limp Faisal Al-Ani into custody moments before he died on 31 July 2005, contradicting an initial statement by the investigating police watchdog that he had “walked into the police station” and then collapsed.
Faisal was challenged by police in the street. Two constables and an inspector took him around a corner and, when he resisted, In an ensuing struggle he was restrained and held face down on the pavement before he was handcuffed.
The restraint techniques used by the officers were criticised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The IPCC report was particularly critical of an officer who placed his leg and knee across Mr Al-Ani’s back, close to his neck. Faisal died after having a heart attack shortly after he was wrestled to the ground.
The IPCC investigated the circumstances surrounding Faisal’s death and the role of five Essex police officers. The Crown Prosecution Service had advised them that there was insufficient evidence to charge any police officers with criminal offences in relation to the circumstances surrounding the death.
A subsequent inquest jury returned their verdict stating they found that he died of an acute cardiac dysrhythmia during a period of prolonged restraint by police against a background of, among other things, acute psychotic illness and heart problems.
While they found that the force used on him was appropriate, they found that insufficient account was taken of his physical welfare. The coroner recorded a narrative verdict. This enables a coroner to record the circumstances surrounding a death but does not attribute blame.
The force said in a statement; “The jury at the inquest into Mr Al-Ani’s death found that he had suffered an episode of acute psychotic illness in the days leading up to his death and they believe that this was likely to lead to a risk of injury or harm to members of the public, police staff and himself.
“The police officers’ decision to arrest Mr Al-Ani was deemed appropriate and the force used to restrain him was also considered appropriate.
“The jury also found that police had done all that was possible to provide prompt and appropriate medical care to Mr Al-Ani after he collapsed.”
Another death, another IPCC failure
1 July 2009
Man died ‘after police restraint’
29 June 2009