A prominent figure in Croydon's black community has called for a full public inquiry into the death of Olaseni Lewis. Nero Ughwujabo, chief executive of the Croydon Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Forum, believes the Department for Health, as well as the police, have serious questions to answer.Of course he does...
Last month, the Advertiser reported how IT graduate Mr Lewis, 23, was pinned face-down on the floor in a hospital seclusion room by 11 police officers for 40 minutes. He never regained consciousness, and his life-support machine was switched off four days later.
Mr Ughwujabo said the case suggests the NHS's action plan, "Delivering Race Equality (DRE) in Mental Health Care", which began in 2005 in a bid to improve the quality of care received by BME patients, had "not gone far enough."Oh? Why?
"These incidents are still happening. We don't see evidence that race equality is actually embedded in mental health services provided by the NHS," he added. "We know that black people are significantly more likely to be physically restrained or medicated, instead of being supported with other therapies."I don't think the mental health staff and police do this for fun, you know? Nothing on TV, so they pop round for a bit of 'restrain the lunatic'?
And I rather doubt they'd feel that a raving white madman was somehow better than a raving black madman.
Sister Kemi Lewis, 34, who co-runs the Olaseni Lewis Campaign for Change and Justice alongside her parents, said her family’s Christian faith has strengthened them since Olaseni’s death. She said: "[We’re] hopeful that we will get some sort of justice and we’ll find out what the truth is. We want change and it needs to be from the top. We don’t want other families to go through this.And if the truth is 'We had to restrain your brother so he wouldn't hurt himself and others'? Will you accept that?
"This is not the kind of thing that you would wish on your worst enemy, at all."
Mr Lewis' mother Ajibola previously told us how her son was a 'gentle giant' with a 'zest for life'. She recalled: "He had a real sense of adventure and fun. He was a lovely, friendly person and wasn't afraid of new things."I'm sure he was, when he wasn't raving like a madman. And you've picked a nice smiley photo to tug at heartstrings in the paper.
But I suspect the demeanour and behaviour of Mr Lewis on the night in question was rather different...