The family of a man who died after falling off a bridge after being verbally abused by police have called for an investigation into alleged misinformation from Scotland Yard.
Oladeji Adeyemi Omishore, 41, died on June 4 after a confrontation with two officers on Chelsea Bridge.
In a statement released Wednesday, his family called on police watchdogs to investigate initial false reports from the Met alleging he was armed with a screwdriver.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) later clarified that Mr Omishore was in fact carrying a plastic and metal fire starter. His family said Mr Omishore used the lighter for his cigarettes.
His family’s attorney, Kate Maynard of Hickman and Rose, said she wanted to know why the initial Met statement referred to a screwdriver when the lighter had already been confiscated, and why it took the IOPC several days to get the public record to correct.
Charity Inquest said that Mr Omishore’s family “have called on the IOPC to include in its investigation the release of misinformation about the screwdriver/cigarette lighter”.
In a statement issued by Inquest on Wednesday, Mr Omishore’s family said: “Deji was a beloved son, brother, friend who was creative, musically gifted and talented. Not only was he caring and funny, he also had a great appreciation for art, nature and his neighborhood.
“We are deeply troubled by the events leading up to Oladeji’s death and are fully engaging with the IOPC investigation to seek answers. We welcome the long overdue correction that all Oladeji had in his possession at the time was a lighter.
“Deji was clearly suffering from a mental crisis and was vulnerable and frightened. We have raised with the IOPC our concerns about how the officers communicated with him, their repeated use of force against him and its impact.”
They also expressed concern that the officers involved will remain on duty while the investigation is conducted.
The family said: “We sincerely hope that the IOPC inquiry, and ultimately the inquiry, will hold the Metropolitan Police to account for their actions and will also shed more light on the much needed policy and social justice changes that we need to see in order to.” restore public confidence and confidence in the police.
“In the meantime, while the investigation is ongoing, we are concerned that the officers who have been in contact with Deji remain on active duty.”
A spokesman for the IOPC said: “Oladeji’s family have complained to us about statements made by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) after his death, which mentioned that they were called to a report that he was in possession of a screwdriver. We will now examine this complaint as part of our broader inquiry into the circumstances of his death.
“We were unable to confirm that the object Oladeji was carrying was a fire starter until we received it from the MPS on Thursday, June 9th. We gave this information to his family on Monday 13th June after obtaining appropriate support for them through our Family Liaison Manager. We apologize for the inconvenience this delay has caused.”
A spokesman for the Met said: “This was a tragic incident and our condolences go out to Mr Omishore’s family as they continue to come to terms with the loss of their loved one.
“This matter is the subject of an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
“We are fully cooperating with the IOPC investigation and its findings will be released in due course.
“The officers involved in this incident remain on full duty.
“Decisions regarding the status of any officer involved in an incident under investigation will be reviewed.”