Family and supporters cry foul over a young mans’ death after police contact
Compiled from various sources
published: 4WardEver UK – August 2011
Updates listed at the foot of this item
The family of Demetre Fraser, a 21-year old black man, are seeking answers from police after he allegedly fell to his death from a Birmingham tower block on 31st May 2011. It was reported that police officers visited Demetre at the flat where he was staying on the night he died. Demetre, from Peckham, south London, was on bail under the condition that he must live outside London. He was on bail as a result of a petty assault charge after a dispute with his girlfriend. That complaint was subsequently withdrawn.
On the night in question at approximately 9am West Midlands Police visited Demetre for what should have been a simple routine tag check. Reports state that He was outside of his curfew time and there was no requirement for him to be home at that time anyway.
The official version of events is that during the visit from two West Midlands Police officers Demetre committed suicide by jumping from the 11th floor of the high-rise block where he was staying temporarily. But Demetre’s mother, Jossette Fraser, says that neighbours had reported hearing a struggle and commotion on the night he died.
She added: “My son was popular and well known in Peckham he was a very pleasant young man. Everybody who met him liked him. It is clear from what I have been told that the police and my son were involved in a violent struggle that led to his death. His body shows no obvious signs of having dropped 11 floors and there are huge contradictions in what the police say happened and what local neighbours say they heard and saw.”
In a move that baffled the family and their supporters the Independent Police Complaints Commission, (the body established to conduct investigations into police misconduct) ruled that West Midlands Police should investigate the death themselves. Many commentators have expresses that this is entirely unacceptable.
Family supporters said; “The IPCC have got this completely wrong and should not allow the West Midlands police to investigate themselves. The West Midlands Police Authority should insist on an IPCC supervised investigation.”
The death represents the second highly suspicious death in the custody and care of West Midlands Police force during the same period following the equally controversial death of Kingsley Burrell.
These recent deaths in police custody together with that of Smiley Culture (aka David Emmanuel), served to inflame police-community tensions, that many say were already stretched to breaking point. Maxi Hayles from Birmingham Racial Attacks Monitoring Unit expressed the outrage and frustration of the local community.
“The black community is outraged that yet another young black man has died at the hands of the West Midland Police force. They need to immediately suspend the officers involved in Demetre’s case. We have just lost Smiley then Kingsley Burrell and now within weeks this young man. How much more can we take? The West Midlands Police is out of control and we are reliving the worst days of the 1980’s all over again.”
Ms Fraser said; “I received the call from the police that my son was in hospital and immediately rushed to Birmingham within the hour of my arrival my son had died in theatre. I am beside myself with grief and have had to have medication from my doctor to cope”.
“They are trying to tell me my son jumped off an 11th floor balcony and killed himself. Why? His girlfriend had withdrawn the charge against him and he knew that. He was waiting for the Crown Prosecution Service or the police to formally tell him so he could come home to Peckham.