Relatives of a man who jumped off Chelsea Bridge after being Tasered by police have said it is “incomprehensible” that the officers involved are not under investigation. Oladeji Omishore, 41, died after a confrontation with two Metropolitan Police officers on June 4, who had been called when he was seen shouting and holding up a lighter on the bridge in west London. Watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct is now investigating what happened.
'This is dysfunctional' His family said in a statement released through the charity Inquest: “It is incomprehensible to us that the officers seen in that video are not yet being investigated for any professional misconduct or criminal charges. “This means they are essentially being treated as witnesses to the investigation, not subjects of it. “They may not even be interviewed and their evidence might not be forcefully challenged until our lawyers get to cross examine the officers at the inquest. This is dysfunctional. “We understand that police are rarely suspended from duty following their involvement in contentious deaths in this country, and often do not even face conduct investigations. “It is even rarer that they face criminal investigations. This does not look like a robust system capable of holding the police to account.”
Kate Maynard, of Hickman and Rose solicitors – who represent the family, claimed that decision making by the IOPC “doesn’t feel forthright or vigorous”. Mr Omishore’s family, who say that Taser use is disproportionately targeted at black mentally ill people, added: “We feel that the actions of the Metropolitan police officer amounted to excessive use of force, and for this the officer must be held accountable. “We cannot bring our beloved Deji back, but we will fight to ensure that this never happens again to another human being, and we’ll continue to raise awareness and campaign for police accountability for a life tragically taken from us that can never be replaced.” Mr Omishore was initially incorrectly reported to have been brandishing a screwdriver on the day he died, but the object was later revealed to be a plastic and metal firelighter. His relatives’ statement continued: “Deji was so beloved. He was creative, funny, and caring. He loved music, singing, art, nature, and his local neighbourhood. “He faced struggles with mental health but was working hard to improve his wellbeing. “We have learned that our family now faces a long struggle for truth, justice, and accountability. We are committed to fighting for that, not only in Deji’s name but alongside all the other bereaved families like ours.”
'Investigation progressing well'
An IOPC spokesperson said: “Our thoughts and sympathies remain with the family and friends of Oladeji Omishore. Our investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death is progressing well and our investigators are continuing to gather and analyse key evidence. “At this early stage we have no indication that any of the officers involved may have breached police professional standards or committed a criminal offence, although we keep conduct matters constantly under review. “We will work to complete the investigation as quickly as possible and we are committed to carrying out a thorough and robust examination of all the evidence. “We continue to liaise with Mr Omishore’s family to update them on our progress.”
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