A 29-year-old male who seemed to be experiencing a mental health crisis experienced a heart attack and passed away following being subdued by law enforcement with his hands restrained behind his back and his legs tied together, according to an investigation.
The officers were worried about Mouayed Bashir’s low oxygen levels and excessive sweating during the restraint, but they did not let him go as they awaited an ambulance.
The paramedics arrived at Bashir’s family home in Newport, South Wales more than an hour after the police had already been there. They arrived about 35 minutes after the police had noticed that Bashir’s oxygen levels were a cause for concern.
Caroline Saunders, the senior coroner for Gwent, informed the jury that they would be tasked with examining the actions of the officers, their training and adherence to policies, as well as the response of the Welsh ambulance service.
On February 17, 2021, Bashir’s parents contacted emergency services out of concern for his well-being.
At approximately 9am, officers from Gwent police arrived and made the decision to restrain Bashir. Paramedics arrived around 10am and transported Bashir to an ambulance.
The individual experienced a heart attack and received assistance from law enforcement and medical professionals in order to revive them. They were quickly taken to Grange University Hospital in Cwmbran, but were declared deceased.
The panel of jurors, located in Newport, was presented with distressing videos from body cameras showing how Bashir was subdued. He had locked himself inside a cramped bedroom and could be heard yelling and banging when the police arrived. One officer was overheard saying: “He’s losing control.” Another stated: “This man is behaving erratically.”
Upon entering the room, they discovered Bashir lying on the floor, only wearing underpants and thrashing his legs. The officers quickly considered ways to restrain him, with one inquiring if they had “fast straps” available, a type of restraint used for limbs.
The officers recognized that he seemed to be experiencing a “mental episode”. One of them stated: “We must restrain him.” They had already called for an ambulance at this point.
He was restrained with handcuffs behind his back and straps around his ankles and knees, while also being held onto physically. They discussed placing him in the recovery position and ensuring his airway remained unobstructed. Bashir’s heavy breathing could be heard.
The individual was observed exhibiting physical and auditory signs of twitching, moaning, and crying out. Eventually, he became unresponsive and an officer expressed concern over his diminished oxygen levels.
The officers were concerned about his excessive sweating. When one of his parents inquired about his well-being, they were reassured that he was okay. Although the handcuffs were taken off, the leg restraints remained in place.
After approximately 20 minutes, the officers expressed worry about his oxygen levels, but no ambulance had been assigned yet. It eventually arrived around 15 minutes later.
Prior to the hearing, Bashir’s relatives stated that he was raised in Newport and characterized him as a “very compassionate and charitable individual, who was devoted to his religion and his family, specifically as a registered caregiver for his mother.”
According to them, his preferred activity was hosting summer barbecues. He was well-liked and mischievous, frequently throwing parties for his friends. He had a passion for music, ranging from traditional Sudanese tunes to hip-hop.
The inquest continues.