No charges filed

Pros­e­cu­tors cite im­proper force, lack of aid to sus­pect, but say sever­ity of ac­tions was mi­nor

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By XU WEI xuwei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Pros­e­cu­tors will not press charges against five law en­force­ment of­fi­cers in a case in which a man choked to death af­ter be­ing taken into cus­tody.

Bei­jing pros­e­cu­tors have de­cided not to press charges against five law en­force­ment of­fi­cers sus­pected of neg­li­gence in a case in which a man choked to death af­ter be­ing taken into cus­tody, say­ing the sever­ity of their ac­tions was mi­nor and all have shown re­morse.

The Bei­jing Peo­ple’s Procu­ra­torate said in an on­line post on Fri­day af­ter­noon that pros­e­cu­tors found the five of­fi­cers, in­clud­ing two police of­fi­cers and three aux­il­iary of­fi­cers, who were sus­pected of “im­proper law en­force­ment” through the use of im­proper force. They said they were try­ing to take Lei Yang, a 29-year-old Bei­jing res­i­dent, into cus­tody on May 7. But Lei died.

Given that the of­fi­cers’ ac­tiv­i­ties were part of a planned l aw en­force­ment cam­paign, and that Lei had in­ter­fered with law en­force­ment, the pros­e­cu­tors de­cided not to press any charges, the state­ment said.

How­ever, pros­e­cu­tors also found that the five of­fi­cers con­trib­uted to Lei’s death by fail­ing to per­form emer­gency life­sav­ing pro­ce­dures, in­clud­ing tak­ing the man to a hos­pi­tal af­ter find­ing him un­re­spon­sive. They were also found to have de­lib­er­ately made up facts and ob­struct the in­ves­ti­ga­tion dur­ing the en­su­ing in­quiry, the procu­ra­torate said.

The state­ment added that the procu­ra­torate will re­port any vi­o­la­tion of the Com­mu­nist Party of China dis­ci­pline, if any, to the ap­pro­pri­ate watch­dog.

The Bei­jing police said in a state­ment later on Fri­day that the five of­fi­cers will be pun­ished in ac­cor­dance with reg­u­la­tions.

The case stirred a public out­cry af­ter an on­line post by Lei’s wife cast­ing doubt on the re­sults of the police in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter her hus­band’s death.

Four of the sus­pects have been re­leased on bail. A fifth, sur­named Xing, for­mer deputy di­rec­tor of Dongx­i­aokou police sta­tion in Chang­ping dis­trict, re­mained in cus­tody.

The pros­e­cu­tors said they de­ter­mined that Lei had so­licited pros­ti­tu­tion at a foot mas­sage salon be­fore his en­counter with the of­fi­cers. Lei tried to es­cape be­fore of­fi­cers sub­dued him, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion found.

In the state­ment, the pros­e­cu­tors de­scribed a num­ber of abu­sive be­hav­iors, in­clud­ing of­fi­cers “us­ing knees to press face and neck, and slap­ping on the face”.

Lei tried to es­cape for a sec­ond time af­ter he was placed in a police ve­hi­cle. In ap­pre­hend­ing him the sec­ond time, the of­fi­cers “used their feet to step on Lei’s face and neck, and used their legs to hold down his arm”. Lei was then dragged back to the police ve­hi­cle by the hand­cuffs he was wear­ing.

The pros­e­cu­tors said they don’t be­lieve Lei was beaten to death by the police of­fi­cers, as none of the bruises on his body were fa­tal. Lei was found by an in­de­pen­dent au­topsy to have choked to death on his vomit.

“But the mis­con­duct by the police of­fi­cers had a di­rect causal re­la­tion­ship with Lei’s death, which is a se­ri­ous re­sult,” it said, adding that “Lei’s in­ten­sive and per­sis­tent re­sis­tance when he had a full stom­ach also has a close re­la­tion­ship with the death”.

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