Did duo die from police brutality?

originally by: Morning Star
published: 16th September 2010

Human rights campaigners have said that serious questions must be asked after the deaths of two mental health patients in a matter of days following police restraint.

Olaseni Lewis, a 23-year-old student from south London, and 52-year-old Colin Holt from Gillingham were both restrained by police in separate incidents on August 31 this year.

Mr Holt collapsed and died after being restrained by officers at his home while Mr Lewis suffered fatal injuries having been restrained by up to eight police officers at Bethlem Royal Hospital in Bromley. While the details of Mr Holt’s death are unclear it is understood he left the hospital where he had been sectioned and returned home.

Hospital staff had then called the police who entered his flat and restrained him. Mr Lewis is the latest in a series of young black men to have died in similar circumstances. Other high-profile cases include those of Sean Rigg who died in police custody in Brixton in 2008 and Roger Sylvester, who died after being restrained by police in a psychiatric institution in 1999.

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