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Black anger over restraint death

PUBLISHED: 17:02 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 14:46 25 August 2010

A DECISION not to charge police for the death of a Nigerian man has frustrated the black community

A DECISION not to charge police for the death of a Nigerian man has frustrated the black community.

Businessman Frank Ogboru, 43, suffocated as he was allegedly pinned to the pavement by four police officers in Calderwood Street, Woolwich, in September 2006.

Yet, despite CCTV footage of the arrest and reports that Mr Ogboru wailed for help, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it had "insufficient evidence" to proceed with a prosecution last Wednesday. It claimed that a jury would not decide the police's alleged use of force was unlawful.

Makhan Bajwa, director of Greenwich Council for Racial Equality, said: "This is harming race relations. All race relations are built on confidence and trust. The repetition of these events and no action being taken reduces people's confidence in the police. Especially black people's confidence."

Last November the CPS also announced there was "insufficient evidence" to charge anyone for the death of Paul Coker, who died in Plumstead police station cell in 2005.

Mr Coker, of mixed racial heritage, had died from cocaine intoxication. Police had called for an ambulance for him.

Mr Ogboru's cause of death was given simply as "asphyxia during restraint".

The Nigerian was allededly appr-oached by police after disturbing residents of Vista Buildings by arguing with a woman.

When he ignored police orders not to return to the building, officers allegedly used CS spray on him then four were said to have pinned the wailing man down.

He was held down because he continued to struggle and died where he lay, in view of civilian witnesses.

Mr Bajwa said: "No one has used the word racism but they say when a black person dies it is always the same old story.

"I feel the same way, that when a person has died not from natural causes, someone must be responsible for that.

"However, the CPS say it's not enough evidence so that is the end of it. It makes the black community feel frustrated."

Nick Raynsford, MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, said: "They have looked at this very closely and if they decided that there are no formal criminal charges, then I have no doubt of it."

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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