An asthmatic Black man died in the custody of London police after the officers dismissed his cries for help due to chest pains, according to a document obtained by Insider. In a coroner’s prevention of future deaths report, the incident was detailed including the circumstance of death and what should’ve been done.
In many cases where a Black man dies or is severely injured in police custody, there could have been something done to prevent the worst from happening. Ian McDonald-Taylor was arrested in south London following a physical altercation, the report says. While he was handcuffed, laying on the sidewalk, he voiced concerns of chest pains and not being able to breathe: a scenario we’ve heard of too many times.
“I’m fading. I’m going to die. Stand me up now,” McDonald-Taylor said according to the body camera footage cited in the report. Moments later he went into cardiac arrest.
More about the report from Insider:
It said that a police constable, whose name was redacted, radio-ed a sergeant and said, “he’s currently on the floor playing the whole poor me poor me; he’s going to have to go to the hospital though as a matter of course,” and later said, “He’s saying he has chest pains he can’t breathe blah blah; it’s a load of nonsense, but there we go.”
His cause of death was recorded as cardiac arrest, acute asthma, situational stress, heart disease, and dehydration.
Senior Coroner Andrew Harris’ report said that the anonymous officer “could not bring himself to apologize to the family.” The Independent Office for Police Conduct has said that the police officer did not behave “in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings.”
The coroner wrote in the report that the officers involved may need an assessment of their training or further provision given the events that took place. McDonald-Taylor had asked the officers to reach for his inhaler in his pocket but his request went unfulfilled. He was denied medical aid until he went into cardiac arrest and at that point, it was too late to save his life.
One man in Salt Lake City was denied care for a fatal stab wound. A man in New Haven was denied care after being paralyzed following an accident in the back of a police van. We already face biases in the medical field itself. Now it seems we also face it from non-medical professionals who are often the cause of our injuries.