4 June 2023

The family of Oladeji Omishore are still calling for answers, one year on from his death. However, the family have now learned that two officers are being investigated by the police watchdog for potentially failing to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.

Oladeji, known as Deji, died on 4 June 2022. The 41 year old Black man fell into the River Thames after having been subjected to multiple Taser discharges by a Metropolitan Police Officer on Chelsea Bridge. It seems clear that he was experiencing a mental health crisis.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) are conducting an ongoing investigation into his death, and an inquest is awaited. Deji’s family are taking legal action against the IOPC. They are challenging the IOPC decision not to hold a criminal or misconduct investigation into Oladeji’s death.

The family argue that it is unlawful and irrational for the IOPC to have ruled out, at the very least, disciplinary proceedings against the officers. They point, in particular, to the officers’ decisions to repeatedly treat Deji as aggressive, despite the obvious signs of a mental health crisis as he was on the bridge. The family awaits the High Court listing of an oral hearing on their application for permission to proceed with their judicial review.

The IOPC have so far denied that there is any indication of potential misconduct by the officers for their actions that day. However, the family have recently learned that the two officers involved are now subject to a separate criminal or misconduct investigation by the IOPC.

These investigations are on suspicion that the officers may have breached the standards of professional behaviour expected of police officers in failing to cooperate appropriately with the IOPC’s investigation. That appears to mean that the IOPC takes more seriously the failure of the officers to cooperate with its inquiry than it does their actions on the bridge.

The family are crowdfunding for legal costs for their judicial review via their solicitors at Hickman & Rose. See the CrowdJustice page for more information and donate here.

In a joint statement, the family said: The anniversary of Oladeji’ s passing serves as a painful reminder of the profound impact his death has had on our lives. Our grief is compounded by the fact that our loved one's life was cut short, and we continue to grapple with unanswered questions surrounding the circumstances that led to this tragic event.

It is our firm belief that every individual, regardless of their background or situation, deserves to be treated with respect, dignity, and humanity. We place our trust in law enforcement agencies to protect and serve the community while upholding these fundamental values.

However, the loss of our loved one raises concerns about the use of excessive force by police officers and the need for comprehensive training, de-escalation techniques, and increased accountability measures.

We acknowledge that meaningful progress is being made to address police practices, specifically in the decision by Metropolitan police chief, Sir Mark Rowley to not have police officers attend emergency calls related to mental health incidents. We recognise the need for specialised responses to individuals experiencing mental health crises, especially among vulnerable Black men.

It is our hope this initiative will help to ensure appropriate responses that prioritise the safety and wellbeing of individuals in crisis. However, we firmly believe that more needs to be done to prevent future tragedies.

We continue to urge the IOPC to conduct a thorough, unbiased, and transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding our loved one's death. We seek clarity, truth, and accountability.

On this sombre anniversary, we stand together as a united family, seeking justice, advocating for change, and honouring the memory of our beloved Oladeji, and extend our deepest gratitude to everyone who has supported our efforts". 

Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST, said: “While the conversation around policing and mental health shifts, the family of Oladeji Omishore are still left waiting for answers and change. Delay, denial and defensiveness from police and the investigation system frustrates opportunities for change.

The public response to people in mental health crisis must be centred in care and support, not use of Tasers or force. This is particularly important for Black men, who are subject to disproportionate use of force due to racial stereotyping by police.

Local and national government must urgently invest in effective mental health care and crisis intervention teams, delivered with and by communities. This would help prevent yet more deaths like Oladeji's."

Kate Maynard of Hickman and Rose solicitors, who represent the family, said: It is highly regrettable that in their grief, this bereaved family have been driven to focus on adversarial legal proceedings against the IOPC. No family should have to bring such proceedings to ensure a lawful, robust and transparent investigation into their loved one’s death. These proceedings have not been brought lightly.

However, over the last year the IOPC have repeatedly failed to command the confidence and respect of this family due to fundamental flaws in the IOPC's approach to this investigation, and a lack of critical curiosity about what happened on Chelsea Bridge that day – and its relationship to systemic issues within the Met and wider policing”.



For more information contact Lucy McKay on [email protected] or 020 7263 1111

A photo of Oladeji Omishore, provided by the family, is available here.

INQUEST has worked with the family of Oladeji Omishore since his death. The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Kate Maynard and Toby Wilton of Hickman & Rose Solicitors, and Nick Armstrong KC and Ifeanyi Odogwu of Matrix Chambers. The family is supported by Senior INQUEST Caseworker, Selen Cavcav.

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