On 7 October 2003, Andrew Jordan, a 27-year-old Black man, died after up to nine police officers entered his flat in Erith, south London. The Police Complaints Authority has told Andrew’s family that he was punched three times by one of the officers.
Andrew was a physically fit, tall, well-built young man, who was suffering from depression but had no history of violence. He was married, with a four-year-old daughter. Staff from Oxleas NHS Trust had an appointment to see Andrew and take him into the Woodland Unit at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup, to reassess him.
The Oxleas staff arrived at 10.45am with two police officers. Shortly afterwards, at least a dozen more police arrived on the scene. Although Andrew’s family lived nearby, they were not informed of any problem connected with admitting him. There had been no problems with previous admissions.
According to a neighbour, at least nine officers went into his one-bedroom maisonette, where they stayed for over three hours, by which time an ambulance had been called. Andrew was carried out apparently unconscious, laid on a path outside, and then carried into the ambulance, accompanied by three officers. No medical treatment was given to him.
From there, instead of making for the nearest accident and emergency department in Woolwich, the ambulance went to Queen Mary’s in Sidcup, accompanied by two police cars. En route, there were further delays, as the ambulance stopped twice as gates restricting wide vehicles had to be unlocked. During one of these stops, an attempt to resuscitate Andrew was made.
When the ambulance arrived at Queen Mary’s, Andrew was pronounced dead, and at 2.45pm his family were informed by phone. His body had a number of injuries around his eyes and to his nose. The Police Complaints Authority has subsequently told Andrew’s family that these were the result of being punched three times by one of the officers.
After an inconclusive post mortem, the family has been unable to bury Andrew’s body. Only the two officers who accompanied the NHS staff have been interviewed and none of the officers who entered the flat has been suspended. The family is calling for all the officers concerned to be interviewed under caution.
The case has attracted the attention of the local press and BBC London News. Local Labour MP John Austin has written on behalf of the family to the Police Commissioner, and the family of Roger Sylvester has been very supportive. Andrew’s uncle is a longstanding member of the civil service union PCS, and a motion supporting the family’s call for a full public inquiry is going to the union’s annual conference.