Man named locally as Jordan Begley said to have suffered ‘medical episode’ after incident in Manchester
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is to launch an investigation following the death of a man police used a Taser gun against in Manchester.
The man, named locally as 23-year-old factory worker Jordan Begley, is said to have suffered a “medical episode” and died after police fired at him with the stun gun.
Officers responded to reports of a disturbance at about 8.15pm on Wednesday in Gorton, east Manchester, and used the Taser while detaining the man. The police force referred the case to the IPCC.
The chief constable of Greater Manchester, Sir Peter Fahy, and its police and crime commissioner, Tony Lloyd, have met the deceased’s family.
Fahy said: “Our sympathies are with the family and friends of the man who are going through a traumatic time. I have expressed my sincere condolences to the family and promised them that we will fully co-operate with the Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation.
“The family want to get answers and we will work with the IPCC to ensure that we understand what happened. It is important now to allow the IPCC time to conduct that investigation and not to speculate about what took place.”
Begley was described by his boss as “a very good lad” who had been saving up to move out of his mother’s house. Paul Sivori, of Sivori’s ice-cream factory, said Begley had been working full-time at the plant for at least three years, both in the depot, which supplies a fleet of ice-cream vans, and in the factory shop.
“I only saw him last night when he finished his shift at about 7pm,” Sivori said. “He’d been under a bit of pressure because it’s been a very busy time for us with the hot weather. He was at that age where he wanted to get his own place, to move out of his mum’s house, so I [lent] him £100 towards that just yesterday – it was an advance on his wages, which he usually gets on Fridays.”
Sivori said his uncle Peter had witnessed the start of the incident that led to Begley’s death. He was apparently passing Begley’s street when he saw the young man surrounded by police. He asked what was going on and was told to go away.
Locals said Begley lived in Beard Road with his mum, who worked in a local cafe, and his younger brother. On Thursday a police cordon blocked off part of the road and a forensic tent had been set up. The shutters were down at Dot’s Cafe, where Begley’s mother works, with a handwritten sign saying: “Cafe closed due to bereavement”.
One woman who claimed to know Begley’s mother said the dead man had a heart complaint and was often ill. She suggested that if he had a criminal record police should have known about his heart problems and should not have used a Taser on him.
Neighbour Kirstie Porter, 21, said she saw Begley being brought out of the house and put in the ambulance where paramedics performed CPR. “Everybody was out in the street, all the neighbours. There was police everywhere, loads of vans turned up. The ambulance was there for about five or 10 minutes and then it drove off.”
Lee Wilkie, 25, who lives nearby on Mount Road, told the Manchester Evening News: “He [Begley] was a good lad, a quiet lad, and he was very well-liked. People around here are just in total shock and really angry as well, why did they have to Taser him?”
It is unclear what led to Begley being shot with the stun gun. Greater Manchester police said: “Police received a 999 call reporting a disturbance on Beard Road in Gorton where there was a man with a knife. Officers were dispatched immediately and arrived in eight minutes. On arrival a Taser was discharged to detain a 23-year-old man.
“At this time it is unclear what happened, but at some point afterwards the man suffered a medical episode. Paramedics performed first aid on the man at the scene before he was taken to hospital where he sadly died.”
Police use of Tasers has been controversial. In October last year a blind man, Colin Farmer, 63, was shot with a 50,000-volt Taser in Chorley, Lancashire, when his white stick was mistaken for a Samurai sword. Last month prosecutors confirmed that the IPCC had passed them a file for consideration, meaning officers could face criminal charges over the incident.
In April the IPCC launched another investigation after a Taser was fired at a man in Plymouth who had doused himself in petrol, and who later died from serious burn injuries. The IPCC said it would examine the “officer’s rationale for discharging a Taser on a person known to be doused in flammable liquid” and “whether the discharge of the Taser caused the fuel to ignite”.
In London police chiefs want Tasers to be more widely available to officers, arguing that they protect officers and are a better alternative to deploying firearms officers. This year an inquiry by the London assembly heard that the Metropolitan police planned to increase the number of officers issued with Tasers by more than 50%, from 800 to almost 1,300, bringing the Met into line with other forces that have significantly increased Taser deployment.
Freedom of information requests reveal that the weapons were discharged 1,371 times in the year ending March 2011, a 66% rise on the previous year. But government figures (pdf) released on Thursday showed a decrease in the number of police operations in which firearms were authorised: 12,550 in England in 2011-12, compared with a peak of 18,891 in 2005-06.