The Independent Police Complaints Commission have today decided to overturn their initial decision not to investigate the death of Demetre Fraser, a young black man form Peckham south east London. Demetre was reported to have been visited by the West Midlands Police, (WMP) who claimed that he then committed suicide by jumping from the 11th floor of a high rise block of flats in the Druids Heath area of Birmingham.
Initially the IPCC decided that there were not going to investigate the case and had handed the case back to West Midlands Police to complete an internal investigation.
After the establishment of a campaign and a huge demonstration in Birmingham last weekend at which over 1000 people attended, the IPCC have responded to both the level of public concern and the strong evidence that challenges the West Midlands Police official version of events by reopening an IPCC investigation.
Lee Jasper, a spokesperson for the Fraser family welcomed the decision, said
The IPCC missed a golden opportunity to forensically investigate what we believe to be a potential crime scene.
“ This case should have never been handed back to the West Midlands Police service in the beginning. That was a mistake and one that we challenged. The IPCC will now have to check and audit what has been done by the WMP and immediately secure potential evidence’.
Commenting on the lack of confidence of many black communities in the ability of the IPCC to deliver justice he said,
“ The IPCC should be under no illusion. They are handling the three critical cases, Smiley Culture, Kingsley Burrell and now Demetre. There is zero confidence in the wider community that they are able and willing to properly investigate deaths in custody. In the case of Demetre they have already blundered and they have a hell of lot of ground to make up.
We serve notice that these campaigns will be pushing them relentlessly to ensure that we get the truth. There can no cover up in these cases.”
The Fraser family this week conducted an independent post mortem the result of which are expected shortly. They are also set to meet the IPCC this week to discuss the case and their concerns.
OBV Staff reporter
(Published at OBV: http://www.obv.org.uk/)