Inquest into the death of Kevin Clarke opens
On Monday 7th September, a four week inquest opened into the death of Kevin Clarke, a 35 year old black man, who died following restraint by Metropolitan Police officers in Lewisham, South London, on 9 March 2018. Kevin was experiencing a mental health crisis at the time when he was restrained by police.
The inquest will be investigating many important issues including; the contribution of the police restraint to Kevin's death, the appropriateness of his prior mental health care, the response of the London Ambulance Service and, more broadly, the apprehension of individuals experiencing mental health crises. This is also the first inquest into the death of a black man in police custody in the UK since the death of George Floyd and the global movement that it sparked.
The inquest will be held in Southwark Council's Tooley Street premises in front of Senior Coroner Andrew Harris. To attend the inquest remotely or in person, pre-registration is necessary and the link to do so is here.
Wendy Clarke, Kevin's mother, said on behalf of the family: "Kevin's death has been devastating for his family and friends. We need a detailed and accurate account of the circumstances of his death including the use of force, medical emergency assessment and response. We hope that this inquest will provide us with answers we and the community need."
Cyrilia Davies Knight, lead solicitor acting for the family, said: "It is crucial that there is a thorough investigation into the tragic death of Kevin Clarke. Any concerns that might become known during the inquest around the actions or omissions of the police officers or paramedics involved should be robustly examined to ensure proper accountability, justice and public confidence".
Saunders Law's Cyrilia Davies Knight and Ben Curtis are representing the family of Kevin Clarke. Counsel representing the family are Professor Leslie Thomas QC and Ifeanyi Odogwu (both of Garden Court Chambers).