Man `hammered' by police batons

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The Independent Online
A black man who later died in police custody screamed in agony as a group of police officers "hammered" him with their batons, an inquest jury was told yesterday.

"I could hear the thud of the blows," said Susan Price, a witness to the arrest of Wayne Douglas. She wept as she described to the hearing at Southwark Crown Court how the suspected burglar had been pounced on like "dogs getting hold of a cat". She had no idea how many times he was struck, "but it seemed to go on for ages. He was screaming. I was very distressed at what was happening".

Suddenly his cries stopped, and minutes later she heard the 25-year-old "whimpering" as he was carried handcuffed and unmoving, like a "trussed- up chicken" out of a park in Brixton, south-west London, where he had been caught.

Ms Price said that Mr Douglas, a former postman, was then thrown face down on to the floor of a police van "like a sack of potatoes".

That caused the man to cry out in pain and when a police officer then knelt on his back he screamed again, she said.

She was giving evidence on the fourth day of the inquest into Mr Douglas's death just over an hour after his arrest on 5 December last year.

Two weeks later a protest rally outside Brixton police station sparked widespread rioting in the area which left a pounds 1m trail of damage.The hearing was adjourned until today.

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