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Father demands answers, apology after son dies after alleged assault in police custody

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Aichi prefectural police headquarters

NAGOYA — The Aichi prefectural police have begun an investigation into the alleged assault by police officers of a man who died while in custody at a local police station, and the victim’s father is demanding answers and an apology.

According to prefectural police sources, the 43-year man was arrested on Nov. 25 and died of kidney failure on Dec. 4 while in police custody at the Okazaki Police Station.

The Okazaki police had moved the man to a holding cell, saying he had been acting violently, where he was physically restrained with handcuffs and rope for a total of over 100 hours. A surveillance camera in the room recorded the man appearing to be kicked, the sources said.

A senior officer of the police station was among those suspected of kicking the man and other acts of abuse. That spurred the prefectural police to launch a probe on suspicion of the crime of “abuse and cruelty by specialized public employees.” Investigators have seized videos and other relevant materials.

On Saturday, four prefectural police officers, including the senior officer overseeing the case and the supervisor of detention services, met with the 71-year-old father to brief him on the status of the investigation.

The father said he had requested videos during his son’s custody period and other information, but, “The police have given me no detailed explanations,” he said at a press conference after the meeting. “I want them to apologize to my son who was treated no better than an animal.”

According to the father, while the four officers expressed regrets for his son’s death, they would only say the “investigation is on-going” in response to questions of whether an assault took place and if the station bears responsibility for the incident.

The father said his son suffered from schizophrenia and was mildly diabetic, and he repeatedly implored the police to have his son taken to the hospital. But he died before he could be admitted.

“My son was restrained naked,” the father said. “I want to ask [the police] how they would feel if their own child was subjected to such cruelty.”