Justice for Andrew Jordan

Justice for Andrew Jordan

Written by: Richard Price

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.

Related links

Newsshopper – Tell me how my husband died


Black deaths in custody – IRR factfile

United Families and Friends Campaign

Injustice – a film by Migrant Media

Labour Left Briefing

Thanks to Labour Left Briefing for allowing us to use this article which first appeared in the April 2004 issue of Labour Left Briefing.

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

One thought on “Justice for Andrew Jordan

  1. How many more black men have to die in custody before we black people start to react in a political manner? Earlier this year (19 Arpil 2004) a young black boy (Gareth Myatt)died in the custody of Group 4. The Officers who restrained the small boy were not suspended. I am not even sure whether they are facing any sort of criminal investigation. I have not heard that they have been arrested. But why would the police arrest them? Don’t they kill our black men when they claim to restrain them too? The stereotyping of black people as being naturally aggressive and violent, deserving a violent and aggressive restraint and arrest has seeped deep into the pscyhe of the institutions that regulate and incarserate people.Until such time that black people ensure that they take political action to ensure that every time one of our people dies in custody we march on the streets, we ensure Parliamentary Questions are asked, we bombard the media with our concerns,we sit on the investigation panels, regulatory panels – including those that make decisions about diagnosis and treating of alleged medical conditions – there will be no change. We will continue to die in violent circumstances or quitely by the medical kosh.

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