Darren Cumberbatch was a loving, quick-witted, and bubbly man who would help anyone. He was a qualified electrician and had worked for ten years at the Lear Corporation.
Darren Cumberbatch was 32 years old when he died in hospital, in Warwickshire on 19 July 2017. Nine days after police had beaten and tasered him, his life support machine was switched off and he died. On the 10th of July 2017 Darren Cumberbatch was described as "lashing out" from a toilet cubicle in a bail hostel. Staff called the police and the police moved in using incapacitating spray. The police used excessive force on Darren at McIntyre House including baton strikes, other physical strikes, multiple punches, stamping, PARVA spray and tasers. The post mortem examination revealed that Darren had sustained at least 50 injuries. Officers admitted to striking Darren on the nose, hitting him with batons, and using a taser against him in an attempt to over power and restrain him. They claimed that none of the actions were successful and that Mr Cumberbatch was only restrained after he was punched by another officer between and 10 and 15 times. After Darren was restrained he was taken to nearby George Eliot Hospital for further treatment. Darren was initially treated in a side room at the resuscitation area and he remained in hospital. He subsequently suffered renal problems and ultimately multiple organ failure, leading to his death 9 days after he was brutalised by the police.
What was the legal implication?
An inquest was ordered after Darren Cumberbatch died. It was carried out between 28 May 2019 and 25 June 2019. The jury returned a narrative conclusion at the inquest. They found that the police’s restraint of Darren contributed to his death. They also found that ineffective communication and the lack of a plan to respond to Darren's mental health crisis was a serious failure.
The jury found the following:
Before police entered the toilet area, their communications were ineffective and no meaningful plan was established regarding 1) their entrance into the toilet area or 2) what they would do when inside the toilet area. This was a serious failure.
Inadequate de-escalation attempts were made by police.
The police used considerable restraint on Darren at McIntyre House including baton strikes, other physical strikes, multiple punches, stamping, PARVA spray, tasers and handcuffing. Some of this restraint ‘may’ have been excessive and, at times, was probably avoidable
Some of the police restraint in the hospital car park ‘may’ have been excessive and, at times, was probably avoidable.
The police’s restraint of Darren contributed to his death.
Cumberbatch’s killing prompted coroner Delroy Henry to call on the Probation Service to better train staff.
No arrests have been made.
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.