Officers found guilty of misconduct but ‘could have done nothing more to save the life’ of party-goer

Officers could not have done more to save the life of a 34-year-old party-goer who became “so violent” both a Taser and police dog were used to detain and arrest him, a misconduct hearing was told.

Sep 18, 2017

Officers could not have done more to save the life of a 34-year-old party-goer who became “so violent” both a Taser and police dog were used to detain and arrest him, a misconduct hearing was told. But two Staffordshire Police officers – found guilty of misconduct following an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation – were in a “no win” situation surrounding the death of Adrian McDonald. But relatives described the written warnings handed to Inspector Richard Bills and Sergeant Jason Bromley as a “slap on the wrist”. The disciplinary hearing on Monday (September 17) found the two officers both showed “a lack of diligence” in failing to send Mr McDonald – who went on to suffer a fatal cardiac arrest – for an immediate medical assessment at a police custody suite. The pair were cleared of gross misconduct after an NHS expert ruled Mr McDonald would still have died even if he had reached the custody suite. A third officer was cleared of all alleged misconduct and will face no further action. Mr McDonald died in the back of a police van shortly after being arrested by the officers at a flat in Chesterton, Newcastle-under-Lyme. The tribunal panel criticised Sgt Bromley after he returned to the flat to check on the welfare of the police dog-handler and the officer`s dog rather than checking up on the detainee. Insp Bills was criticised for failing to intervene when Sgt Bromley went to the flat. Tribunal chairman Tariq Sadiq said: “Sgt Bromley showed a lack of diligence in failing to convey Mr McDonald immediately to custody. He prioritised the condition of the dog-handler and the dog over the welfare of Mr McDonald. “Insp Bills displayed a lack of diligence by failing to convey Mr McDonald immediately to custody. He should have intervened with Sgt Bromley’s failings.” But Staffordshire Police Federation – currently considering appeals on behalf of the officers against the rulings – stressed they “could have done nothing more to save Mr McDonald`s life at the scene”. The local staff association chairman, Keith Jervis, said: “This man was so violent that both a Taser and a police dog were used to try to detain and arrest him. After a struggle he was taken from the flat but fell ill at the scene and sadly died. “Expert evidence made it quite clear that Taser use was not a contributory factor in the death. “They tried in vain to resuscitate him after he fell ill while being supervised sitting in a police vehicle. “The misconduct panel’s view was that the delay in taking him to custody for medical assistance or to hospital, even though this was a matter of a few minutes, was unreasonable. “The officers appear to have been in a no-win situation as Mr McDonald would have sadly died anyway. “The standards of professional behaviour maintained by our officers are set at a high standard and officers have to make very difficult decisions in fast moving and fluid life-threatening situations. With the benefit of hindsight, and more time to consider, it is very easy to appear to find fault. “We will continue to support the officers should they choose to appeal this conduct finding.” Now Mr McDonald`s relatives are demanding to see the medical report and want answers at his full inquest in November. The McDonalds have backed the use of Tasers – and praised the force after this incident was captured on officers` body-worn video cameras (BWVs). Brother Wayne McDonald added: “I have nothing against Tasers and the police are under pressure. We are pleased in a way that Staffordshire Police wear body cameras because without that there would be no evidence whatsoever.” But he added: “We need to know why they think he would have died anyway because he wasn’t even given the chance of medical assistance so how can they say that? “This is a one-year slap on the wrist for my brother dying in the back of a police van. My brother meant everything to us and we will never understand what happened.” Mr McDonald, who lived in Stoke-on-Trent, had been attending

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