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Fedster

Force PSD probes 'secret Facebook site supporting sacked officer'

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Fedster

Call for protest to counter planned demonstration over Kingsley Burrell custody death.

PC Paul Adey: Outside the misconduct hearing last month

PC Paul Adey: Outside the misconduct hearing last month

 

Plans for a tit-for-tat demonstration in support of a constable sacked after lying over the restraint of a detainee who died in custody are being probed by officers from professional standards.

The West Midlands force has confirmed it is investigating a Facebook site which has called on police personnel to stage a counter protest to one demanding justice for Kingsley Burrell.

The plea on social media – from a secret group reportedly with 1,200 members – urged backing for former PC Paul Adey who was dismissed last month in a gross misconduct hearing.

While comments are said to be highly critical of the officer’s treatment and leading members of the Kingsley Burrell campaign – Desmond Jaddoo and Charlie Williams – the force has told Police Oracle it is concerned over the “impact” of officers attending any future counter demonstration

Both men, who are calling for further scrutiny of the social media site from West Midlands PCC David Jamieson and the Independent Office for Police Conduct, postponed a Birmingham city centre march, after officers were urged to stage their own show of support for their ousted colleague.

According to the Sunday Mercury the message of ‘Support for PC Adey’ asks all officers, staff and their families who are off duty to stage their own march in support of “Paul and the boys”, saying that everyone is entitled to peacefully protest and has the right to assemble.

A West Midlands Police spokesman said: "The impact concerning officers attending any future ‘counter demonstration’ will be reviewed by Chief Superintendent Andy Beard and the content of the social media posts will form part of an investigation by the Professional Standards Department."

PC Adey, accused of bringing policing’s basic principles of “honesty and integrity” into question, was sacked for lying over the restraint of Mr Burrell who suffered a fatal cardiac arrest while in police custody seven years ago.

The claims by the officer that there was nothing covering Mr Burrell's head when he was transferred to a seclusion room at mental health unit in Birmingham set a “bad example” for police officers, a misconduct hearing was told.

Misconduct panel chairman Bedfordshire deputy chief constable Mike Colbourne said it was "inconceivable" that was giving a true account in December 2011 when he told investigators he had not seen some form of covering.

The hearing last month at Sutton Coldfield police station ruled that the West Midlands officer owed Mr Burrell a duty of care and "failed to discharge it properly" when he allowed the covering to remain in place.

On March 27, 2011, four days before his death, Mr Burrell was detained by West Midlands officers under the Mental Health Act and forcibly restrained by means of rear cuffs, leg straps and threats of a Taser for four-and-a-half hours.

Three days later, officers and a dog unit were called to the hospital, and the mental health patient was once again restrained using rear cuffs, leg straps, and the threat of Tasers.

On the way to another facility, an ambulance worker placed a blanket over Mr Burrell’s head as he lay chest down on a hospital trolley, still restrained. During the time he was restrained Mr Burrell was subjected to baton blows, punches, and strikes by police.

Officers then left Mr Burrell lying face down and motionless in a locked seclusion room for around 28 minutes, with his trousers about his knees and the blanket still around his head.

Although medical staff observing him had already seen that his respiration had dropped to a worrying rate, no one entered the room. When they finally did, they found that Mr Burrell had suffered a cardiac arrest.

Further delays followed in locating a functioning defibrillator and calling an ambulance. He never regained consciousness and died the next day.

Independent Office for Police Conduct regional director Derrick Campbell said after the misconduct hearing: “We have undertaken two complex investigations surrounding the sad death of Mr Burrell which have led to the gross misconduct proceedings, as well as the earlier criminal trial at which the officers were acquitted.

“The evidence we gathered also helped to inform the inquest held in 2015. The actions of the officers involved, their use of force and the accounts they since gave have been thoroughly and independently scrutinised, and the disciplinary panel has now made its decisions and findings.

“The overall length of time taken since Mr Burrell’s death to reach conclusion is regrettable, and I have no doubt of the profound effect this has had on all concerned.”

Two other officers, PCs Mark Fannon, 47, and 52-year-old Paul Greenfield, were cleared of allegations of using excessive force and giving dishonest accounts about a covering placed over Mr Burrell's face to stop him spitting.

One post on the secret Facebook site is understood to show PC Adey and the other two officers smiling side by side in uniform.

The postponed demonstration by the Burrell family’s supporters was over the two cleared officers’ return to full duty in Birmingham city centre, and said it go from Lozells Road to Summer Lane police station.

A call for a public inquiry has been backed by Mr Burrell’s family.

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