Jossette Fraser demands suspension of officers involved in incident
30th June 2011: Black men are not safe in police custody, a mother fighting for justice for her son Demetre Fraser has alleged.
The 21-year-old from Peckham, south London, Demetre Fraser, is said to have fallen or jumped on May 31 from Birmingham tower block , during a visit from two officers. Fraser was staying there temporarily on bail.
After her son died from the fall from the 11th floor of the tower block during the police visit, the mother, Jossette Fraser, is also demanding that the services of the officers allegedly involved in the incident be placed under suspension.
She has further referred to the deaths of Smiley Culture and Kingsley Burrell to say black men are unsafe in police custody.
Kingsley Burrell died in Birmingham on March 30th and Smiley Culture died in Surrey on March 15th.
The West Midlands Police had earlier claimed Fraser’s body was found at the foot of the tower block, when the officers came to talk to him on a reported breach of his curfew conditions.
A petty assault charge was initially brought up against Fraser following a dispute with his girlfriend. The compliant was subsequently withdrawn. But his bail conditions specified he was to reside outside London and remain at home during set hours.
On May 31 at around 9am, West Midlands Police visited Fraser believing he had breached his conditions.
Disputing the accidental fall theory, Jossette is claiming neighbours told her about overhearing a huge commotion on the morning Fraser died.
There is no way he jumped from the window and committed suicide, she told The Voice.
She has added her family and Demetre’s friends are in a state of deep shock and disbelief. His girlfriend too is beside herself and they are demanding that West Midlands Police immediately suspend the two officers concerned while they get to the bottom of what actually happened.
Expressing indignation at the state of affairs are campaigners Maxi Hayles of Birmingham Racial Attacks Monitoring Unit (BRAMU) and activist Lee Jasper.
It is taking us back to the 1980s, when they had this increase in deaths in custody in a short space of time, Jasper told The Voice.
Hayles said they need to immediately suspend the officers involved in Demetre’s case. They have just lost Smiley then Kingsley Burrell and now, within weeks, this young man. “How much more can we take?” he questioned.
A West Midlands spokesperson, on the other hand, told The Voice they can confirm that the IPCC was informed on June 1 about the death of a 21-year-old man from Druids Heath in South Birmingham whose body was found at the foot of the tower block in which he lived. The discovery was made after officers had visited the address in an attempt to speak to the man about his alleged breach of court-imposed curfew conditions.
The referral to the IPCC is standard procedure under protocol relating to the death or serious injury of anyone who may have had recent contact with the police. Having considered the circumstances, the IPCC has since referred the matter back to West Midlands Police’s Professional Standards Dept who will carry out an internal inquiry into the matter.”