Police involved in restraining Bedford man who died after swallowing drugs will not face disciplinary action

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Police involved in restraining a man who died after swallowing drugs in Bedford, will not face disciplinary action.

The decision follows an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) which found no evidence to justify disciplinary proceedings against officers involved in restraining Karl Brunner prior to his death in May 2016.

On the day of his death Beds police carried out a ‘pre-planned stop’ on Mr Brunner based on intelligence that he was in possession of drugs.

He was stopped near the bus station in Midland Road at about 12.30pm on May 11.

Three officers arrested and restrained Mr Brunner on the ground during which time Mr Brunner put a package of heroin in his mouth.

Officers then verbally instructed Mr Brunner to spit out the package and used force in an attempt to make him do so.

When Mr Brunner became unresponsive officers called an ambulance and started CPR. Mr Brunner was taken to Bedford Hospital where he was sadly pronounced dead at 1.18pm.

An inquest jury today (January 18) concluded the death was accidental.

The death of Karl Brunner, 48, while he was pinned down by plain-clothed drug squad police officers was captured on video and posted on the internet.

The distressing incident was caught on camera by a passer-by.

Friends, who knew him by the nickname Yankee, later placed flowers at the scene with poignant notes. But two days later the tribute was wrecked and covered in what was believed to be urine.

“What kind of moron would do this? We are furious,” said one. .

“Karl was a lovely guy, who was quietly spoken and no trouble to anyone.”

Sarah Green IOPC regional director for the south-east, said: “My thoughts are with Mr Brunner’s family, friends and all those affected by this incident.

“Tragically Mr Brunner’s death is a reminder of the risks of attempting to swallow packages and that police need to be especially vigilant when dealing with people suspected of doing so.

“We found no indication that any officer acted in a way that would warrant disciplinary proceedings but we did identify that officers did not seem familiar with guidance that people suspected of swallowing packages should be taken for immediate medical treatment.

“We are satisfied that Bedfordshire Police has taken steps to remedy this situation.”

The IOPC completed its investigation in November 2017, however, publication of its findings was delayed until the conclusion of the inquest.

The IOPC investigation report into Karl Brunner’s death will be published in due course.