Officer involved in restraint of Roberto Villa will not face charges
3 Aug 2021 02:46 PM
A West Yorkshire Police officer whose actions during the restraint of Roberto Villa in Huddersfield were investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) will not face criminal charges.
We investigated the conduct of six officers involved in the restraint and arrest of Mr Villa, 37, at the Edgerton Hotel, on New North Road, on 4 December 2018. During the incident, Mr Villa became unresponsive and officers began CPR. He was taken to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary by paramedics, where he later died.
We interviewed the officers and spoke to 14 witnesses – including police, paramedics and hotel staff – as well as consulting relevant experts. We also analysed police records and reviewed a large amount of CCTV, mobile phone and body-worn video camera footage of the incident.
Upon completion of our investigation in May 2020, and after careful analysis of the available evidence, we passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for them to consider charges in relation to one of the officers. The CPS has this week confirmed it will not be authorising any charges.
We also found the officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct for alleged breaches of the standards of professional behaviour in relation to use of force and duties and responsibilities. The other five officers we investigated had cases to answer for misconduct in relation to their duties and responsibilities. The force agreed with our findings and it will now be for them to arrange disciplinary proceedings.
IOPC Regional Director Miranda Biddle yesterday said:
“This was a tragic case that resulted in the death of a man and our thoughts remain with his family. It has been a long road to get to this point and I understand how difficult it must be for them. Our investigation, which concluded more than a year ago, was complex, relying on the input from outside parties, which added to length of time it took for us to complete it.
“While this officer will face no criminal action in relation to the force used during Mr Villa’s restraint, it remains our view that a misconduct hearing is needed so that his actions can be properly scrutinised in a public forum. We also await misconduct meetings for the other officers.
“The evidence we have gathered as part of this process will also be made available to the coroner and will ultimately play an important role in ensuring Mr Villa’s family get the answers they deserve at the inquest. Until both the inquest and disciplinary hearings have concluded, it would not be appropriate to comment further.”