Brian Douglas was a popular music and sports promoter and father of one. He was born in Balham, South London England on the 29th of October 1961.
Brian was arrested in Clapham in South London not long after midnight on 3rd May 1995. During his arrest, he was hit on the head with a baton and his skull was fractured during an arrest by two officers in Clapham. Despite being taken to the station and vomiting in his cell, Mr Douglas was not taken to hospital until more than 12 hours after he was injured. Five days later he died after having suffered a fractured skull and damage to his brain stem.
What was the legal implication?
The two police officers that arrested Brian claimed to have been acting in self-defence because Mr Douglas had allegedly been carrying a CS gas canister and a knife; an assertion contradicted by eye-witnesses who gave evidence at the inquest. The officers also claimed that Mr Douglas had been struck by a blow to his upper arm, which slid over his shoulder and hit his neck. These allegations were flatly contradicted by the expert medical testimony of three pathologists who agreed that he had been struck on the back of the head, which was consistent with accounts given by witnesses.
The courts reached a verdict of a lawful killing, Brian’s death was stated as a result of ‘misadventure,’ and the Coroner stressed the need for ‘better training in the use of batons.’ The Met Police Commissioner was asked to consent to disclosure of statements taken by the investigating officers but refused on spurious grounds. No disciplinary action was taken against either officer after a PCA supervised investigation and the Crown Prosecution Service brought no charges.
If you want to find out more about other victims of police and state violence in the UK, click here.
The proportion of BAME deaths in custody where restraint is a feature is over two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody. The proportion of BAME deaths in custody where use of force is a feature is over two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody. The proportion of BAME deaths in custody where mental health-related issues are a feature is nearly two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody.