Three U.K. police officers are out of a job over their cover-up of a violent scuffle that left a Black teenager paralyzed and severely brain damaged.
Julian Cole was just 19 years old when he got into a fight with a bouncer and the officers after being booted from Elements nightclub in Bedfordshire in eastern England in July 2013, according to Sky News. After going back multiple times for a refund, Cole was slammed to the ground twice — once by the bouncer and once by the officers.
The teen was carried to the police van and taken to the Greyfriars police station, where it was discovered that his neck was broken. Cole went into cardiac arrest not long afterward and suffered brain damage that has left him in a completely vegetative state.
Officers Sanjeev Kalyan, Nicholas Oates and Hannah Ross lied about the incident, however, claiming the young man was able to walk to the police van on his own when they arrested him. Surveillance video poked massive holes in their story and instead showed the officers carrying Cole to the van as his feet dragged on the ground and his head hung low.
The officers also said Cole was able to move his legs and put a shoe back on in the back of the van.
On Monday, Kalyan, Oates and Ross were all found guilty of gross misconduct for lying about the teen’s condition when he was detained and taken in the van, Metro News UK reported. A fourth officer, Sgt. Andrew Withey, was also found guilty of misconduct for failing to perform proper welfare checks and was issued a final written warning.
Cole’s mother, Claudia Cole, expressed joy at news of Monday’s decision.
“Today is a good day for us. When we first saw Julian in a coma and on life support five-and-a-half years ago, and the police officer told us that he had been ‘chatty’ in the police van, we suspected a cover-up,” she said.
She continued, “This tribunal’s decision makes it clear that not only did the officers lie about events involving Julian but they showed an inhumane indifference to his welfare.”
In video from the incident, a bouncer is seen wrapping his arms around the teen and taking him to the ground after Cole had made several attempts to get his money back. Police constables Oates and Ross also stepped in to restrain him.
The young man managed to get back up only to be taken down once more by the officers. After handcuffing him, the constables lifted him, put him down, and then lifted him again, before dragging him to the back of the police van.
He was driven about a mile to the police station, where he was unable to stand after being removed from the van. Police Constable Ross dialed for an ambulance some minutes afterward.
“The findings today are an important step forward in establishing the true events surrounding the night Julian suffered catastrophic injuries,” the family’s lawyer, Rachel Harger, said.
Cole’s relatives said he now needs 24-hour care after the horrific incident
“This hearing was not formally about who caused Julian’s injuries, however, the outcome has confirmed the family’s belief that police officers gave deliberately dishonest accounts in order to avoid criticisms of wrongdoing and their behavior demonstrated a callous disregard for his well-being,” Harger continued.
According to Metro News UK, the family is now asking police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to relaunch its investigation into the events of that night. The Crown Prosecution Service has already said no criminal charges will be filed, however.
Watch more in the video below.