27/03/2006

Police guilty of 'neglect' over man's death

Police officers have been found guilty of "the most serious neglect of duty" after a former paratrooper choked to death while in custody.

Four officers from Humberside Police were also accused of "unwitting racism" in the death of Christopher Alder in 1998 by a report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Mr Alder choked to death while in custody at a police station in Hull. The 37-year-old had been arrested following a scuffle outside a hotel in Hull and was arrested for breach of the peace after receiving treatment at Hull Royal Infirmary. He was taken to Queen's Garden police station, where he later choked on his own blood and vomit after lying on the floor without moving for eleven minutes.

Five officers were cleared of manslaughter and misconduct in 2002 over Mr Alder's death.

IPCC Chairman Nick Hardwick said: "The failure of the police officers concerned to assist Mr Alder effectively on the night he died were largely due to assumptions they made about him based on negative racial stereotypes.

"I cannot say for certain Mr Alder would have been treated more appropriately had he been white - but I do believe the fact he was black stacked the odds more heavily against him."

However, the report ruled out claims that Mr Alder had been assaulted by police officers.

Humberside Chief Constable Tim Hollis has apologised to Mr Alder's family for his treatment.

(KMcA/SP)

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