No criminal charges for officer after man died following arrest
A West Yorkshire Police officer involved in the restraint and arrest of a 37-year-old man who died a short time later will not face criminal charges, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has said.
Roberto Villa was arrested and restrained while at the Edgerton Hotel in Huddersfield in December 2018. During the incident, Mr Villa became unresponsive and officers began CPR. He was taken to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary by paramedics, where he later died.
The conduct of six officers involved in the incident were investigated and, in May 2020, a file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to consider criminal charges in relation to one of the officers.
An IOPC spokesperson said the CPS had confirmed on Tuesday (August 3) that it will not be authorising any charges against the individual concerned.
However, the IOPC found the officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct for alleged breaches of the standards of professional behaviour in relation to use of force and duties and responsibilities. The other five officers investigated were found to have cases to answer for misconduct in relation to their duties and responsibilities.
West Yorkshire Police has agreed with the findings of the IOPC and will now arrange disciplinary proceedings against the six officers.
IOPC Regional Director Miranda Biddle said: “This was a tragic case that resulted in the death of a man and our thoughts remain with his family. It has been a long road to get to this point and I understand how difficult it must be for them. Our investigation, which concluded more than a year ago, was complex, relying on the input from outside parties, which added to length of time it took for us to complete it.
“While this officer will face no criminal action in relation to the force used during Mr Villa’s restraint, it remains our view that a misconduct hearing is needed so that his actions can be properly scrutinised in a public forum. We also await misconduct meetings for the other officers.
“The evidence we have gathered as part of this process will also be made available to the coroner and will ultimately play an important role in ensuring Mr Villa’s family get the answers they deserve at the inquest. Until both the inquest and disciplinary hearings have concluded, it would not be appropriate to comment further.”