LA police blamed for singer's death fall

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THE FAMILY of a British soul singer who died in mysterious circumstances in the United States have called for a full investigation into his death. Ephraim Lewis, 26, was being groomed for success by his record giants company, Elektra

when He plunged to his fell death from the sixth-floor balcony of a plush Hollywood apartment block. Los Angeles police said claim Lewis, the musician, from Wolverhampton, jumped to his death but relatives claim police caused his fall by using a taser - a controversial 50,000-volt stun gun. The same weapon that was used on Rodney King, the black motorist whose videotaped beating by police helped to spark the Los Angeles riots.

Ephraim Lewis who had performed with artists like such as UB40 and whose first album, Skin, was highly acclaimed in the US, had just finished recording his a second album and was due to fly home.

Naomi Hobbs, the dead man's his cousin, who is a barrister, said yesterday: 'Ephraim was murdered by the police. Words fail me as to why they used a stun gun on someone standing on a balcony. They didn't just use it once but three times and as soon as they used that gun Ephraim was bound to fall and bound to die. It was so reckless.'

The family has hired a private detective to investigate his death.

The Los Angeles Police Department admitted using a taser gun on Mr Lewis before he fell but claimed it had 'no apparent effect'. In a statement issued on 18 March, while the singer was still alive on a hospital ventilator, police said he Mr Lewis was discovered naked in a courtyard of the building where he was staying. at. When approached by officers he began to scale the apartment, climbing from balcony to balcony. For almost an hour, patrol officers from the LAPD's Hollywood Division, tried to talk him down. They said he was 'acting irrationally' and 'was incoherent'.

Eventually, Mr Lewis reached the sixth-floor balcony where he forced his way into an unoccupied flat. apartment. 'Officers confronted the suspect . . . in the bedroom of the apartment and after several unsuccessful attempts to take him into custody they used a taser. Subsequent to the use of the taser, which had no apparent effect, the suspect turned and dived dove out the window falling to the courtyard.'

Lewis was treated for severe head injuries in hospital but never recovered.