Family hit out at IPCC over police brutality allegations
compiled from various sources – October 2017
submitted by – Neelam Bi
Updates on this case listed at the foot of this item
Julian Cole, a 21-year-old athlete, was left with a broken neck after he was detained by police on 6 May 2013. Julian and some of his friends who were enjoying a night-out at Elements Nightclub on Mill Street in Bedford were asked to leave. Initially they walked away but then Julian, seemingly intent on requesting a refund, returned alone to the club.
On returning to the venue, Julian was seized by security who immediately passed him over to several police officers present outside the club. Much of what took place was caught on CCTV but the crucial moments of what happened when the police officers took hold of Julian is not captured. He then reappears on CCTV handcuffed and being carried by police officers into a police van.
Julian was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence. The case was later dropped because of his severe condition.
Julian was left in a vegetative state following the altercation and subsequent arrest outside a nightclub. His brother, Claudius Cole, condemned the lack of progress by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) after it launched an investigation into the incident.
Six Bedfordshire police officers were placed under criminal investigation and questioned about potential offences of grievous bodily harm and misconduct in public office. They denied any wrongdoing and were suspended from duty. Also, two nightclub door staff were also questioned over potential grievous bodily harm charges.
Claudius Cole said; “when the IPCC took over the investigation, we hoped that we would learn the truth. Twenty months on, we feel that the investigation has ground to a halt. The police officers are not being held to account and we are left without answers while we care for Julian whose life has been destroyed.”
Julian suffered a ‘hangman’s fracture’ during the incident, and experts suggested that considerable force would have to be subjected to his neck while his head was pulled back. Investigators therefore had to consider whether the officers were responsible for his injury and, if so, whether it amounted to an act of misconduct or criminality.
Julian’s family claimed that police initially tried to mislead them in the immediate aftermath. They say one officer told them Julian was talking after his arrest, but that would be impossible with a severed spinal cord. Then another officer claimed that Julian was drunk at the time. Apparently, he had consumed alcohol, but tests show he was not drunk and was under the drink-drive limit. Claudius Cole said; “Bedfordshire police tried to cover up what their officers did to Julian by alleging that Julian was conscious and ‘chatty’ in the back of the police van.”
The Cole’s said that they had been inspired to campaign by black families in the US who complain of excessive police force. Claudius Cole said; “I think the police may have behaved the same here as in the US. It is the same type of behaviour, but it hasn’t been as well publicised. Julian did not need six officers to pin him down he is only 5ft 5in and was unarmed.”
The Cole family have also taken part in a solidarity event at the House of Commons with families from Ferguson, Missouri, where violent protests took place after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown.
Julian was admitted to a specialist care home where he receives 24-hour nursing care due to now being paralysed and having brain damage. His brother had planned for him to be his best man at his wedding, instead, pictures of his younger brother were projected at the wedding and family and friends also went to visit Julian at the home.
The IPCC said; “Our investigators updated the Cole family just before Christmas 2015, to apologise for the length of time taken and gave reassurances over the latest timescales. A decision on whether to refer the case to the CPS will be taken upon completion of the report.”
Bedfordshire police gave a statement saying; “We continue to follow a national syllabus and standards of training, all of which are approved by the College of Policing. This includes safe restraint and control of detainees.” They also said they were awaiting the IPCC’s findings. “This was a complex set of circumstances involving a number of people. It would be inappropriate to apportion blame to any individual while there is an ongoing investigation.”
Since that fateful night, Julian’s family have sought answers from the police and the (IPCC) and formed the Cole Family Truth Campaign. As with the family of Sheku Bayoh, who died in police custody in Scotland in May 2015, Julian’s family were fed misleading information by officers in the hours following his hospitalisation.
The family’s fight for justice continues!
Police watchdog sorry for delay in probe of paralysed man
29 January 2015
Spinning the assault on Julian Cole
17 July 2015