18 April 2018

Adrian McDonald died aged 34 on 22 December 2014, following his arrest by Staffordshire police, during which he was tasered and seriously bitten by a police dog. In September 2017, misconduct charges were brought against officers involved, and were found proved against two, a sergeant and Inspector. An Appeal by the officers was upheld by a Police Appeals Tribunal on 17 April, citing a “misunderstanding” at the original three-day hearing. The inquest into Adrian’s death is scheduled for November 2018.

Adrian and his family are from Huddersfield; he had been living in Stoke-on-Trent.

The family of Adrian McDonald said:
“We are devastated at the Appeal decision which makes no sense to us at all. The officers and their Police Federation colleague publicly laughed and joked before the result was announced. We can only hope that the Inquest into this tragic death, to take place in November 2018, will bring to light the true circumstances of what occurred leading to the death of our beloved Adrian.

Our family had no intention of saying anything further, as an Inquest Jury will be reaching their own conclusions about Adrian’s death in November, and their independent assessment will be crucial. We are horrified that the Police Federation have chosen to broadcast detailed views, including a statement that Adrian was extremely violent- yet to be established – and that the family seek to point the ‘finger of blame’ at the Police: it was not the family of course who instigated the misconduct proceedings, but Staffordshire Police who did so following a recommendation from the then Independent Police Complaints Commission. *

Despite press reports, the cause of Adrian’s death has not been established, and again will be a matter for his Inquest.”

Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST said:
“This decision brings the police misconduct system into disrepute, and sets a dangerous precedent. We hope the upcoming inquest will explore the evidence sufficiently to ensure those who should be, are properly held to account.

This family has kept a dignified silence for over three years, despite their grief, in order to allow due process. Yet following this appeal the chairman of the Staffordshire Police Federation felt it appropriate to make public and inflammatory speculations about the circumstances of Adrian’s death, prior to an inquest. Attempting to demonise a black man as ‘violent’, to blame him for his own death, in order to deflect attention from the conduct of officers, is a familiar tactic that is prejudicial and unacceptable.”



For more information contact Lucy McKay on 020 7263 1111 or here

The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group member Ruth Bundey of Harrison Bundey solicitors.

*The Independent Police Complaints Commission is now the Independent Office of Police Conduct

More information on the misconduct charges is available in previous media coverage:

The statement from Keith Jervis, chairman of Staffordshire Police Federation is available here.