Jury return damning verdict on police conduct in Taser-related death of young man
A five-week Inquest into the death of Jordon Lee Begley (23) concluded in Manchester on Monday 6th July 2015 with the Jury returning a detailed Narrative Verdict, which was highly critical of the Police involvement in tasering and physically restraining Jordon. This is thought to be the first occasion in the UK in which the use of a Taser by the Police has been causally linked to a death. As such, it is likely to have wide ranging implications for the future use of Tasers.
Stephen Killalea QC and Peter Edwards, together with David Pugh of College Chambers, represented Jordon’s family. The case has received national coverage on ITV, the BBC and in The Guardian and was widely reported in the local Manchester press and by Granada Television. A Dispatches documentary on Channel 4 will follow shortly.
A 999 call was made to the Police on 10th July 2013 relating to possible violence involving Jordon, who was reported to be armed with a knife. 11 Police Officers, including 6 Firearms Officers, attended his home in Manchester. After going into the property a taser was discharged striking Jordon on the chest. He was then physically restrained by several Police Officers. Jordon suffered a cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead upon attendance at hospital.
The Jury’s narrative decision
The Jury concluded that the Officer who discharged the Taser had made several communication failures prior to the discharge and escalated a situation that was being adequately dealt with verbally by another Police Officer. The Jury were also critical of the manner and duration of the taser discharge describing it as “inappropriate” and “not reasonable use in the circumstances”.
The Jury were also highly critical of the subsequent restraint of Jordon, whom they described as offering “minimal resistance”, concluding that the Firearms Officers involved in the restraint caused a head injury by forcing Jordon to the floor, unnecessarily punched Jordon twice “without even checking his response to the first punch” and that he was left lying face down on the floor whilst handcuffed for an excessive period of time.
On the cause of death the Jury concluded that Jordon’s cardiac arrest was caused by prolonged stress, which produced a catecholamine (adrenalin)-induced cardiac dysrhythmia. Critically they also concluded that the Taser and restraint materially contributed to the death.
At a time in which the use of Tasers was becoming more widespread in the UK it is anticipated that the case, with a finding that the taser and restraint materially contributed to Jordon’s death, may have wide ranging implications for the continued use of Tasers by the Police.
The criticisms of the Police Officers’ conduct were categorised by GMP’s Assistant Chief Constable as raising “troubling concerns” and the Officers involved in the taser discharge and restraint have been put on restricted duties.
The case also raised concerns about the investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC ) which had, in effect, exonerated all the Officers concerned.
Given the multiple inconsistencies in the evidence of the Police Officers, the Senior Manchester Coroner raised the issue of body cams being worn by Officers. He also commented critically on the GMP’s evidence retention system in circumstances where, as in this case, potentially critical evidence was destroyed.Back to News
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