The mysterious death of a 29-year-old Beijing man who was found dead in custody on Saturday evening has sparked public outrage.
The family of Lei Yang was told on early Sunday morning that Lei died after having a heart attack in police custody. He was reportedly detained for allegedly soliciting a prostitute in a foot massage parlor.
On Wednesday, police released footage to media. In the video, one of the women detained for suspicion of working as a sex worker in the foot massage store was asked, “according to your experience, did Lei visit similar place like yours before? Did he do that on a regular basis?”
Why was this question being asked?
The suggestive question might be raised in order to divert public’s attention from the core, actual question: how did Lei Yang die? Who is responsible for his death? Instead of squarely answering this question, the police tried to prove that Lei did solicit prostitute. They deliberately tried to construct an image that Lei was in fact no innocent. While Lei’s family and the public demand the truth of Lei’s death, the police turn a deaf ear to the outcry and strive to cover up the truth.
No matter what Lei did in the foot massage parlor, or whether he was a regular customer in terms of soliciting prostitution, none of these can justify what the police did to him. It is apparent that the plainclothes are not complying with the protocol when they are detaining brothel frequenter outside of a suspected brothel. A thorough explanation and report is needed to clear away all the questions of how a young man, who showed no sign of violence, died mysteriously in police custody, regardless he was guilty or not. The police must answer why they detained Lei.
Facts shall be proven by evidence; the burden of responsibility shall be determined by law. The core questions in Lei’s case are whether or not the police had brutal acts, and if it were the brutal acts that caused Lei’s death. The police claimed that the camera held one officer at the scene was broken in the chaos, so the evidence is permanently missing. Such a claim is definitely not convincing, and it has already raised doubts.
Besides, the Changping police didn’t even try to avert suspicion. Yes, investigation is launched, yet the police is playing dual roles in this probe; they are both the subject of the investigation and the ones investigating. How does that explain their compliance with the protocols then? If the law enforcement is at fault, they should be held accountable. Failure to impose the investigation under procedural justice will not win the public's trust and clear out their suspicions.
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