Habib Inquest Day Three 5th Feb 2015

Vigil 2013‘Even when he was put in a recovery position I felt he was faking it’

Today DC Bazeley continued to give evidence. There was confirmation that there had been a lengthy three and half year’s investigation by IPCC & CPS on charges of manslaughter, misconduct in a public office and perjury against the officers. A final question was posed to the officer about why Habib went limp who responded by saying he was ‘tired’ after the struggle

The TVP force Counsel Sarah Simcock raised some of the changes in policy and training after 2010 she confirmed that in 2008 TVP did not have a policy on mouth searches but had adopted ACPO national guidance and only adopted their own one after the incident. DC Bazeley did not have specific training in this area and was a relatively inexperienced officer having joined in 2005 and becoming a detective in April 2008.

He was questioned about his role in the CPR and first aid treatment and working with the paramedic on the scene. Bazeley was asked how he felt about what had happened and he said he felt shocked but again there was no remorse. He revealed that he was unaware about how the IPCC investigate a death in police custody. The role of police solicitor, Police Federation and senior officers and the process of writing his statements was outlined and it was claimed that there was no detailed debrief.

A significant issue was raised about whether the previous TVP Counsel Claire Watson was aware of the statements being changed. The final IPCC report states that she was aware of this at the Pre-inquest hearing on Friday 3rd December 2010. Crucially there was no disclosure to the Coroner or to the family of this and the suggestion that was information was ‘volunteered’ by the officers is laughable as it is clear that this only came out through cross examination. To the family much of the evidence that this officer gave was contradictory so for example he was aware of control management techniques but not of doing a risk assessment. The jury asked pertinent questions about the times when the ambulance arrived and the use of control tactics and why this was not called earlier.

The next officer in the dock was DS Liles gain and like Bazeley he was warned about making sure that he did not refer to any previous history and Habib’s past unless asked directly. He proceeded to give his statement and was questioned by the Coroner about the car port search and the initial backslap that he deployed and how Habib went down to his knees and the use of pressure point techniques. Significantly he declined to ask the question about the length of time of the restraint.

Towards the end of the restraint when asked about the quiet barking sound and his assessment he felt that Habib was conscious. DS Liles believed that Habib was still ‘faking it’ even when he was put into a recovery position. The perception that he was feigning and he was playing ‘limp’ and play acting is hugely offensive given the circumstances. The police again came across as being more worried about potential criminality than Habib’s health.

It was another tough day and it was good to see the jury start to ask questions. We had a special visitor turn up today all the way from Atlanta! Damon Turner is hip hop artist and activist who has been involved in the Ferguson Tour in the UK and it was good to share experiences and for him to show his solidarity with the family.

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