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Family of man shot by police considers legal action after jury finds he was ‘lawfully killed’

The family of a man suffering from paranoid schizophrenia who was shot dead by police after being caught with two knives in central London are considering legal action after an inquest jury concluded he had was “legally killed” by a firearms officer.

Hassan Yahya, 30, was shot dead by a City of London Police Officer (CoLP), named BX222, near Whitehall before being handcuffed on March 8, 2020.

Its investigation revealed that two Ministry of Defense Police (MODP) officers conducting mobile patrols in a marked police vehicle at Upper Ground encountered Mr Yahya at 11:20 p.m.

They left their vehicle to speak to him, thinking he might be lost, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said.

But Mr. Yahya pulled out two knives and the two officers fired their Tasers without hitting him. He crossed Hungerford Bridge to Great Scotland Yard in Westminster, where a CoLP officer fired his Taser again to no effect.

The IOPC said CCTV footage showed Mr Yahya “advancing towards officers, holding a knife” when BX222 fired the fatal shot at around 11.34pm.

He was handcuffed and officers gave him emergency first aid, but Mr Yahya was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:16 a.m.

His investigation revealed that he was in possession of two knives which were recovered at the scene.

His family said Hassan did not attempt to harm any members of the public, but was shot dead seconds later by another armed City of London officer “in fear for his life”, according to the IOPC.

His mental health condition was unknown to police.

His family insists there was not enough evidence to show the officers were in imminent danger at the time he was killed.

The inquest heard evidence from consultant psychiatrist Dr Akenzua that Hassan had suffered from paranoid schizophrenia for several years, had been discharged early from mental health services and that it was likely his paranoid schizophrenia was responsible for his actions from March 8. 2020.

Ifeanyi Odogwu, representing Mr Yahya’s family, told BX221 – the officer who claimed he fired his Taser at the same time as the fatal shooting – that Mr Yahya “didn’t stand a chance” once confronted with. The officer responded by saying he “disagreed.”

When asked if Mr Yahya looked “scared”, BX221 replied “yes”.

After hearing evidence over a two-week period, the senior coroner ordered the jury to return an abbreviated finding that this was a lawful killing and that no other issue could have caused or contributed to the death .

According to Inquest, a charity representing the family, the tactical weapons advisor admitted ruling out the possibility that Mr Yahya was considered to be in emotional or mental distress, despite his behavior appearing strange.

A spokesperson for the investigation added that although the incident had been declared a “Trojan arrest only”, meaning only authorized armed officers should intervene, two unarmed MPS officers did not followed this instruction. One of these agents admitted that his involvement may have made the situation worse.

Mr Yahaya’s family described him as “very funny” and “not the type to fight with others or complain”.

His uncle has fond memories of them playing football together when they were young and reuniting when they were adults in the UK.

Police activity at Great Scotland Yard, London, on March 9, near where Mr Yayha was shot dead by police after brandishing two knives at officers.
Police activity at Great Scotland Yard, London, on March 9, near where Mr Yayha was shot dead by police after brandishing two knives at officers. (Yui Mok/PA Fil)

Speaking on behalf of the family, El-Tahir Adam said: “It was terrible to lose Hassan like this, and we had to be very patient and wait for the inquest to take place.

“I had hoped that we would get answers through the inquest process, but I am very disappointed in the way the coroner has conducted this inquest despite the best efforts of my legal team who I would like to thank.

“Hassan was unwell and extremely vulnerable, but he didn’t harm anyone, and I think the police had the opportunity to recognize him and treat him differently. »

He added: “BX222, the officer who shot Hassan did so extremely quickly after he got out of the car. It was only a matter of seconds and I don’t think he could have assessed Hassan that quickly.

Charmaine Arbouin, regional director of the IOPC Fund, said: “Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of Hassan Yahya and all those affected by his death.

“Fatal police shootings are fortunately rare and deadly force should only be used when absolutely necessary. When such incidents occur, it is essential that the circumstances surrounding the shooting be thoroughly and independently investigated.

“During their interactions with Mr. Yahya, the officers made multiple attempts to apprehend him using non-lethal force – including multiple Taser discharges over a five-minute period, which proved ineffective.

“The officer who shot Mr. Yahya said he feared for his life as Mr. Yahya walked toward him holding two knives. Our investigation reviewed all available CCTV footage showing Mr Yahya advancing towards police officers, holding a knife, when he was subsequently shot dead.

“Based on the available evidence, we found that the decision to shoot Mr. Yahya was reasonable in the circumstances, due to the officer’s perceived threat to his life.”

The City of London Police has been contacted for comment.