Inquest Launched Into Death of Black Man in Police Custody in South London UK

An inquest has opened into the death of a “well-known and loved” black man who died after being restrained by police in South London earlier this month.

Kevin Clarke, 35, came into contact with police during a mental health crisis on a residential street in Lewisham on the afternoon of Friday 9 March. He was restrained by officers before he “became unwell” and was taken to hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Police said officers attended after reports of a man seen attempting to gain access to the rear gardens of properties at the location. They said he appeared to be in a mental health crisis and detained him at the scene.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) are currently investigating, and have taken statements from nine officers who were involved.

Mr Clarke’s family have said the aspiring footballer was “well-loved” and a “role model” to many, and that they had been left with “so many questions” surrounding his death.

In a statement following the hearing, the family said: “On Friday 9 March 2018, our family was informed that our beloved son, brother and cousin, Kevin Andre Clarke was dead.

“Kevin was well-known and loved in our community and we will truly miss him. He was a father figure and a role model to so many, even when he was going through his difficult times.

“He was also a gifted footballer, who would coach young people and dreamt about pursuing this; unfortunately his dream was cut short.

“We are left with so many questions and hope that the IOPC will swiftly complete their investigations into Kevin’s death and that those officers involved will offer their full cooperation,” it read.

“Finally, we ask that you keep us in your prayers, we do appreciate all the love and support we have been shown during this difficult time.”

Following the incident , Detective Chief Superintendent Tara McGovern, of Lewisham Borough, said: “Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased at this extremely difficult time.

“Where a person dies following contact with the police it is right and proper that police refer the incident to an independent body to review the circumstances surrounding the death, which happened immediately in relation to this incident.

“We are reassured to know that the deceased’s family is being supported and we are offering support to the officers involved in the police response.

“We are, and will continue to, provide our full support and co-operation to the IOPC investigation.”