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May 12, 2016

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Police phone ‘broken’ in fatal arrest scuffle

A mobile phone used by a policeman to record fellow officers subduing a suspect who died after resisting arrest on Saturday night was accidentally broken, police said in a statement yesterday, after the man’s wife demanded that the footage be made public.

The video footage will be published later, said Xing Yongrui, deputy police chief in Beijing’s Changping District, during an interview with CCTV, but he did not specify when.

Xing said the plainclothes officers were not using body cameras at the time of the incident because they were working undercover, People’s Daily reported. Xing said he used a mobile phone as a substitute for a body camera, but it fell and broke during the confrontation with 29-year-old Lei Yang, who had allegedly purchased sexual services at a foot massage parlor.

According to The Beijing News, several witnesses saw Lei running from the plainclothes officers and screaming for help immediately before his arrest.

After being subdued, Lei fought his way from the backseat to the front of the police vehicle, kicking the driver and forcing him to stop, police said. He was then subdued again and handcuffed after opening the car door and trying to escape. Xing said that at this point Lei looked sick and was no longer moving or speaking, so he was taken to Changping Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, where he later died, the paper reported. Doctors observed that he had suffered bruising and was bleeding from the mouth.

However, Xing insisted that officers did not resort to violent means to subdue Lei and normal procedures were followed, the paper reported.

In response to questions about why police did not answer the family’s phone call to Lei’s mobile and why they did not inform them about his death until two hours later, Xing said Lei lost his wallet and mobile phone during the confrontation, adding that they were not retrieved until later.

An independent autopsy will be carried out this week to determine the cause of death, The Beijing News reported.

Changping police said they detained five people, one male and four female, who were at the foot massage parlor, Beijing Television reported.

A lawyer representing Lei’s family surnamed Peng told Chengdu Business Daily: “We are not focusing on whether he paid for sex or not. We want to know why such a simple case led to a loss of life... whether duty-related violations were committed.”


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