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Jacob Michael Inquest Sees Police Cell CCTV
An inquest jury has been shown CCTV footage of the moments before a man who had been pepper-sprayed by police died in a custody cell.
Jacob Michael, 25, was arrested for alleged affray and taken by police van to a custody suite in Runcorn with his hands cuffed and his legs in restraints.
The inquest in Warrington heard police had used pepper spray and batons to arrest him less than 45 minutes before he died.
Outlining the case, Coroner Nicholas Rheinberg told the jury that just before 5pm on August 22, 2011, Mr Michael arrived back at his home in Widnes and told his father to call the police because someone had pulled a gun on him.
The jury was told that Mr Michael then dialled 999 himself, giving his address before hanging up.
Police were directed to attend the address "as an emergency". When the officers arrived and went upstairs Mr Michael initially would not open the door to his room.
The coroner told the jury that two police officers claim that when they did get into his room Mr Michael threatened them with a hammer which led them to incapacitate him with pepper spray. There was a struggle.
CCTV shown to the jury showed Mr Michael running into the street pursued by the two officers.
The coroner told the inquest police batons were used and he was restrained and loaded into the police van.
CCTV footage from the custody van showed a handcuffed Mr Michael being led into the vehicle. On the journey to the police station he could be heard groaning and repeatedly saying the word "please".
The jury was also shown footage of Mr Michael, still in hand cuffs and leg restraints, being carried by four officers, one at each hand and foot, into a custody suite at Norton Police station. He was placed face down on the floor.
Officers were standing around him, one with a foot placed on Mr Michael's left leg. The CCTV then showed Mr Michael fall still and police officers' desperate attempts to resuscitate him.
The jury were told by the coroner that it will be for them to decide whether Mr Michael was treated appropriately and "whether any force used by the police was reasonable and lawful".
The inquest is due to last four weeks.