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The police watchdog has said it is investigating the death of a Black man after being restrained by a Welsh force.
Moyied Bashir, 29, who was not arrested, was said to have been initially handcuffed and his legs restrained by officers who were responding to concerns for his welfare at his home in Newport, Gwent.
He was taken to Grange Hospital in Cwmbran and pronounced dead at around 11.40am on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it was investigating Bashir’s death following a self-referral by Gwent Police and was in the early stages of analysing body worn video, radio transmissions and call logs.
The IOPC’s director for Wales, Catrin Evans, said: “I offer my condolences to Mr Bashir’s family and friends, and to everyone affected by his tragic death. We have spoken to family members to explain our role and how the investigation will progress.
“It is appropriate in the circumstances of a death following police contact that we investigate what happened, and I would like to reassure people that we will do so thoroughly and independently.
“We will be carefully examining the interaction police officers had with Mr Bashir and whether their actions were proportionate and reasonable in the circumstances.”
An IOPC spokesman said: “We have established that Gwent Police officers were called to the property at just before 9am yesterday following a report of a concern for Mr Bashir’s welfare.
“Shortly after arriving, police officers called for an ambulance as there was concern about Mr Bashir’s behaviour.
“We are aware that Mr Bashir, who was not arrested, was initially handcuffed and leg restraints were applied at the property while an ambulance was awaited.
“During their interaction with Mr Bashir his condition was noted to deteriorate. Paramedics arrived and gave medical treatment at the address prior to moving him to a waiting ambulance.”
Gwent Police said in a statement that officers attended Bashir’s home following “concerns for the welfare of an individual, after an emergency call was generated from the address”.
A spokesperson said: “On their arrival a 29-year-old man appeared to be suffering a medical episode. Officers called for an ambulance and he was taken to the Grange Hospital where he was pronounced deceased a short time later.
“The incident has been referred by Gwent Police to the Independent Office for Police Conduct in line with standard procedures.”
In response to Bashir’s death, scores of people attended a demonstration on Thursday organised by the activist group Black Lives Matter Gwent.
Addressing the crowd outside Gwent Police station in Newport, Bashir’s younger brother, Mohamed Bashir, said: ”We called police for help … we only wanted two to three officers to knock his door and help take him to the hospital.
“But, no, 24 officers showed up, hungry for a bit of action.
“They handcuffed him, tied him up by his legs, face down….”
Here is our official statement regarding the tragic and harrowing death of Moyied Bashir. We will keep you all updated on our progress. Our thoughts go out to Moyied’s family during this difficult time pic.twitter.com/MvxedN6FRL
— BLM Gwent (@BLMGwent) February 18, 2021
BLM Gwent has also released a statement calling on Gwent Police and the IOPC “to put their money where their mouth is and deal with this deeply distressing death in a swift, transparent and empathetic manner”.
The statement also read: “We are calling on them to meet with Moyied’s family and community leaders and organisers to discuss this incident. We are also calling on the body-cam footage to be made available so that we can all see for ourselves what happened.”
Gwent Police is the second Welsh force facing questions over a recent death.
Mohamud Mohammed Hassan, 24, suddenly passed away after he was released from custody in January. He was arrested at his Cardiff home on suspicion of breach of the peace.
Hassan complained of having a fit and suffering a migraine, and displayed signs of experiencing pain during the journey to the station, but was held in custody overnight. He died shortly after his release at 8.30am the next day.
The IOPC served a police officer with a misconduct notice as part of its investigation into the case, arguing he was with Hassan in the back of the van following his arrest.