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26 June 2019, 07:43 | Updated: 26 June 2019, 07:49
A jury has returned a narrative conclusion at the inquest into the death of Darren Cumberbatch, finding that the police's restraint of Darren contributed to his death.
They also found that ineffective communication and the lack of a meaningful plan in responding to Darren was a serious failure. The medical cause of death was multiple organ failure as a result of cocaine use in association with restraint and related physical exertion.
Darren Cumberbatch was 32 years old when he died in hospital in Warwickshire on 19 July 2017, nine days after use of force by police officers whilst he was experiencing a mental health crisis. He was one of five black men to die following use of force by police in 2017.
Deborah Coles, director of INQUEST said: "There is no justification for the brutal use of force Warwickshire police deployed against Darren. He was struck by batons, Tasered, sprayed with an incapacitant, punched, stamped on and restrained. Such violence is no way to respond to a man experiencing a mental health crisis, agitated, paranoid and afraid.
"This death occurred in the context of a systemic pattern of disproportionate use of force against black men. The Angiolini review into deaths in police custody made pragmatic recommendations to address this ongoing failure, which we call on the Government to urgently enact."
Daniel Machover of Hickman and Rose solicitors said: "The jury have returned a strong narrative conclusion following the death of Darren Cumberbatch in the custody of Warwickshire Police.
They found that "police used considerable restraint on Darren including baton strikes other physical strikes, multiple punches, stamping, PAVA spray, Tasers and handcuffing" and that "the police's restraint of Darren contributed to his death."
Warwickshire Police have since responded to the jury's verdict.
Deputy Chief Constable Richard Moore said:
"Our thoughts remain with the family of Mr Cumberbatch as they continue to come to terms with his death.
"Every time our officers answer a call they are going into unpredictable and often dangerous situations. They are trained to make decisions in challenging and dynamic circumstances.
"Following these tragic events we recognise the importance of now taking the appropriate time to carefully consider the inquest outcome and to ensure our officers are prepared to manage all the risks they face in the course of protecting the public.
"We note the jury's narrative that some of the restraint used may have been excessive, and that despite attempts to de-escalate the situation, we could have continued to do more.
"We have fully cooperated with the inquest, and with an Independent Office of Police Conduct investigation, and now await publication of their report."