As BLM protests rise, the case of another black man, Kevin Clarke, who died in police custody in 2018, has resurfaced.
Clarke was a 35-year-old living in Catford, South-East London. Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, he had suffered from mental health issues since the age of 17.
His mother, Wendy Clarke, described how several police encounters (involving tasers) had traumatized him and contributed to his deteriorating mental health. At the time of his death, he was living near the Polsted Road. His job, at the local Jigsaw project, was near there.
The Jigsaw Project is a recovery project that aids at-risk individuals. The project works with mostly disadvantaged children, post-adolescents, and adults, helping them with the treatment and rehabilitation of their mental health. Clarke had been a member of the project since 2016.
On March 9, 2018, a few staff members at the Jigsaw facility called the police, concerned about Clarke. Earlier that day, Clarke showed symptoms of relapsing, appearing dazed and confused. Staff members called the police to help take Clarke to a hospital.
Initially, two officers came, assessed the situation, and deemed Clarke in good health. At 2:40 PM that day, Clarke called his mother, telling her he would be ‘coming to yours soon’.
However, a short while later, Wendy Clarke phoned her son again. The phone was received by a police officer. Wendy, becoming concerned, asked if there was an issue. She asked the officer whether her son was under arrest. According to her witness testimony, the officer said no.
At 5:00 PM, Wendy Clarke received two officers at her front door, who delivered the news of Clarke’s death. According to the official report, Kevin Clarke was taken to Lewisham Hospital, after being found at St. Dunstan’s College.
Since the final post-mortem is unavailable to the public, his cause of death is unclear at the moment. However, he was restrained with handcuffs at the time of his death. The Independent Office for Police Conduct, in a report, acknowledged the possibility of gross misconduct.
The entire investigation will be released after Mr. Clarke’s inquest.