Roger Sylvester died after he was restrained by a team of eight police officers on a psychiatric unit at St Anne’s hospital, Haringey.
The high profile inquest following Sylvester’s death again raised questions over the competency of police officers when dealing with vulnerable black patients who use mental health services.
With government research indicating people from African Caribbean communities are 50% more likely to be referred to mental health services via the police, Sylvester’s case, like that of Sean Rigg and many others is of growing concern to senior politicians and community activists alike.
On the night of his death Sylvester was picked up by police officers and taken to the emergency psychiatric unit at St Anne’s hospital, Haringey.
At the hospital he was taken to a room for emergency psychiatric cases. Eight police officers restrain Roger, while he was still handcuffed for over twenty minutes. Roger collapsed and stopped breathing, then was resuscitated but was in a coma.
He died seven days later in the Whittington hospital without regaining consciousness on 17th January 1999.
The BBC reported that 46 people died in police custody or following contact with the police, that year and that Mr Sylvester was one of eight black men to die that year.
The special memorial services marking the 10th anniversary of the death of Roger Sylvester will be held at Finsbury Park Methodist Church, Wilberforce Road, London N4 on Sunday 18th January 2009 at 4.00pm.