Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Jason McPherson: Police cleared of death

Police have been cleared of killing a Shepherd's Bush man.The Independent Police Complaints Commission, IPCC, have exonerated Shepherd's Bush Police for the death of Jason McPherson, 25 and of East Acton, who died in police custody after having been arrested for suspected drugs offences along with two other men in a car on the Edward Woods Estate, W11. He was indeed carrying drugs and when the police saw that he had a wrap of cocaine in his mouth they tried to force it open using blows to the head and chest. He died soon afterwards at Notting Hill Police Station.

His distraught mother, Sandra, gave this interview to the Voice newspaper at the time and there were numerous accusations of violence against the police. It is after all not the first time someone has died in custody under such circumstances.

The IPCC basically came to the view that although the Police should have tried to talk Jason into giving up the drugs package in his mouth before using force, their subsequent actions were in line with both their training and what was considered reasonable force in the circumstances. You can read their full judgement here.

I've lived in this area for years and I've only ever seen one incident when someone appeared to be dealing drugs. I do however always remember once walking down Uxbridge Road last year, in full daylight but at about 6am, only to see about 15 riot police come storming out of Shepherd's Bush police station and into a road on the opposite side off Uxbridge Road. Two or three loud explosions later I got to that road and asked an officer what was going on - it was a drugs raid on a house. And the explosions had been stun grenades, "..cause we dunno what we're gonna find on the other side of that door" he explained

It's a side of the Bush that most of us don't see very often but often lurks in dark corners, which is presumably why the police regularly raid Shepherd's Bush Market for the same reason. And on balance I think the IPCC have probably got it right - he was carrying drugs and could have swallowed it instead which would also likely have killed him if the bag had split. But before we just dismiss Jason as just another drug dealer have a look at this site - his memorial which was set up by friends and family. At the end of the day he was a victim as well. There are no winners.


  1. Doubt he'd have died from swallowing a wrap of cocaine. 10% of twentysomething clubbers do more than 2 grams in a session. And I'm sure protecting his health wasn't the reason they beat him to death. They wanted an arrest, and when he frustrated them, they killed him. The UK has the highest per-capita cocaine use in the world, according to the UN. 750,000 people in the UK use coke annually. The vast majority are white. Yet we only see young black men die in custody. Hm.

  2. I'm sorry - I take it back - just read in Pravda that the coroner gave 'cocaine intoxication' as the cause of death. Report was about H&F Community Safety Board discussing the case on Jan 26, at which the IPCC commissioner 'faced a series of tough questions from McPherson's sister'.