Investigations open into latest death of a black man in police custody

By agency reporter
December 29, 2017

Investigations have opened into the death of Nuno Cardoso, a 25-year-old law student from Kentish Town who died following arrest on 24 November 2017 in Oxford. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has begun an independent investigation, and the Coroner opened and adjourned an inquest on 12 December 2017. Nuno Cardoso is the fifth black man to die following restraint by police officers in 2017 in the UK.

Cardoso grew up in North London but had moved to Oxford in September to start a law course at college. He was bright, liked a good debate, and was excited about his future. He told his family of his ambition to be the “best lawyer in the country.” He was a big fan of Arsenal Football Club and enjoyed cooking for his family. He was happy and popular, and his family are devastated by his sudden death. They have been touched by the memorials that have been held for him.

The family have met with the IPCC and are being provided with updates. They have been informed that Cardoso was arrested in the early hours of 24 November by officers of Thames Valley Police, and that restraint was used during the course of that arrest. He reportedly appeared to suffer a deterioration in his health while being transported to a police station. Medical assistance was apparently provided by police officers and paramedics, but Nuno Cardoso died at the John Radcliffe Hospital later that day.

Cardoso's family welcome the information that the IPCC has shared with them. However, they still have many questions and hope that thorough investigations will be carried out. His death came weeks after the much delayed publication of the Independent review of deaths and serious incidents in police custody, and is the first custody death INQUEST (the charity providing expertise on state related deaths and their investigation to bereaved people, lawyers, advice and support agencies, the media and parliamentarians) is aware of since then.

Doroteia dos Santos, Nuno’s mother said, The number of deaths in police custody, particularly of young black men, makes me worried that something is wrong. I have so many questions about how this could have happened to my son. Police officers are meant to be trained to notice if people are unwell and to ensure that they can keep people in their custody safe. I trust that there will be a thorough investigation, and I believe that any failures can be found out and the people responsible held to account. I just want justice for my son.”

Ruth Mellor of Saunders Law, who is representing the family said, “It is vital that there is a thorough investigation. Any concerns that might come to light around the actions or omissions of the police officers or paramedics involved in these events should be robustly examined to ensure proper accountability and justice. Mr Cardoso’s family must be allowed to properly engage in these investigations; their concerns must be addressed, and their questions answered.”

Deborah Coles, director of INQUEST said, It is despairing that we end the year with yet another restraint related death of a black man, who died less than a month after the publication of the Angiolini review. Enough is enough. That young black men are dying with such regularity shows that this is a systemic problem that needs urgent attention.”



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