Police officers refused to enter a canal to help a drowning 17-year old, it has been alleged.
The family of Jack Susianta from Clapton, east London, called police after they became concerned about his welfare on Wednesday of last week.
Police say before officers arrived he broke a window and fled dressed only in shorts, socks and a T-shirt.
He was missing for around an hour before he was spotted. As he tried to escape from the police he ended up in a canal.
Witnesses said Jack was struggling to swim but refused to grab rings which were thrown towards him.
Fiona Okonkwo said she wanted to go in to try and help Jack but officers wouldn’t allow her.
“I was going to jump in after him but they stopped me,” she told the Evening Standard newspaper. “The police told us there were weeds underneath the water, that it was too dangerous.”
Witness Fred McGruer, a community nurse, said, “Somebody could have got in easily and pulled him out. I asked a police officer why they weren’t and he said they weren’t allowed.”
After about half an hour he disappeared under the water.
“But the officers didn’t get in,” said McGruer. “After he had disappeared it was five or ten minutes and then one junior officer was allowed to go in.”
At about 5.20pm Jack’s body was retrieved from the water. Police deny they refused to help. The case has been referred to the police watchdog.