...By Joseph Benjamin for TDPel Media.
A fatal crash in Ely, Cardiff, which resulted in a riot, has prompted a watchdog to initiate interviews with “key police witnesses.”
Recently released CCTV footage shows a police van seemingly following two boys on an electric bike shortly before the collision that claimed the lives of 15-year-old Harvey Evans and 16-year-old Kyrees Sullivan.
The aftermath of the collision led to a riot, with hundreds of people gathering and hurling rocks and fireworks at the police.
Fifteen officers required medical treatment, cars were set ablaze and overturned, and the streets were strewn with debris.
In response to the incident, a wall of tributes has emerged, and people have been gathering to pay their respects while the investigation into the events of that night continues.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has dispatched investigators to observe the police’s post-incident procedures and has obtained initial accounts from crucial police witnesses.
While the South Wales Police will handle the collision investigation, the independent investigation by the IOPC will scrutinize the actions and decision-making of the police involved in the incident.
David Ford, the IOPC director for Wales, expressed condolences to the families and friends of the deceased boys and emphasized the independent nature of their investigations.
The role of the IOPC now involves engaging with community members, gathering evidence such as CCTV footage and witness statements, and comprehending the circumstances leading up to the collision.
The aim is to establish the facts through a thorough and impartial investigation, given the profound impact the incident has had on the local community.
The IOPC’s investigative and community engagement efforts in the area will persist for an extended period, with updates provided as the investigation progresses.
Ultimately, the investigation will determine if any police personnel breached professional behavior standards.
Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Bacon provided a timeline of events during a press conference, shedding light on the incident in Ely that incited the subsequent riot.
The timeline revealed the movements of the bike and police vehicle leading up to the collision, highlighting that blue lights or sirens were not in use.
The collision occurred at approximately 6:02 pm in Snowden Road, while the police van was half a mile away on Grand Avenue.
At 6:06:59 pm, the police vehicle, after being alerted to the collision, activated its blue lights and proceeded to the scene.
However, newly surfaced CCTV footage seems to indicate that the police vehicle was pursuing the bike at 6:02 pm on Stanway Road, contrary to the police’s timeline.
The discrepancy was brought up by a BBC reporter during the press conference, who suggested that a chase was ongoing just before the collision.
DCC Bacon stated that she provided the timeline to the best of her knowledge and acknowledged the substantial amount of CCTV footage yet to be reviewed.
She emphasized the force’s transparency, asserting that there was no police vehicle present in Snowden Road at the time of the collision and that no other vehicles were involved.
Previous CCTV footage, timestamped at 5:59 pm, appeared to show a police van following two individuals on a bike in Frank Road.
South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael had stated that officers were not chasing the two teenagers when they were fatally injured in the bike crash.
The families of the two deceased teenagers released tributes describing them as best friends.
Harvey’s family expressed their devastation and emphasized his caring nature, while Kyrees’s family remembered him as a loving and handsome young man.
Both families appealed for peace within the community and urged people to allow the police investigation to unfold, so they can find the answers they desperately seek to lay their loved ones to rest.