A man has died after falling from a building in Wales during an immigration raid, prompting an investigation by the police watchdog.
The 23-year-old Sudanese migrant had been working at a car wash in Newport when immigration officers arrived on the scene and reportedly started chasing workers.
It is understood that following the arrival of the officers the man climbed onto a nearby factory roof. A short while later he was found on the floor of an annexe building next to the factory with critical injuries.
Onlookers said there was a “huge bang” as the man fell from the roof, and that the immigration officers “went white”.
Officers called an ambulance and performed CPR until paramedics arrived. The man was transferred by ambulance to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, where he was later pronounced dead.
Lyn Saunders, 70, who was waiting for his car to be cleaned at the hand wash when the immigration officers arrived, said he saw more than a dozen officers jump out of two vans and start chasing car wash workers.
“It was a bit like a Carry On film. There were about half a dozen of us sitting in the cafe next to the car wash waiting for our cars to be done. The worker’s just scattered. It was a bit of a shock to say the least,” he told the South Wales Argus.
“One of the workers managed to get up onto the roof, and the next thing you heard was a huge bang as he fell through. The officers all went white.
“About 10 minutes later a small ambulance arrived, and you could tell by their faces he had died.”
Mr Saunders said he went back to the car wash a couple of days later and it was still open but with different workers.
“I spoke to one of the car wash workers, and he said he was the man’s brother. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, or whether you’re an illegal immigrant or not,” he said.
“He was just going to work, and didn’t deserve to die. No one deserves that. It’s just needless, the car wash wasn’t even closed down.”
Jonathan Green, Independent Office for Police Conduct regional director who is responsible for Home Office matters, said: “This was a tragic and shocking incident and my thoughts go out to the man’s family and everyone else affected.
“We have a remit to investigate in certain circumstances where a death or serious injury occurs to a member of the public in the course of immigration enforcement staff carrying out their duties.
“We would like to assure everyone concerned by this incident that we have begun a thorough, independent investigation into exactly what happened on Saturday morning, and the planning of the operation.”
The investigation follows a mandatory referral from the Immigration Enforcement team in the Home Office. The team carrying out the operation were based in Cardiff.
A Home Office spokesperson said that “acting on intelligence”, the immigration enforcement team had attended the car wash and that the operation was suspended after the man fell through the roof.
“Officers at the scene performed CPR until paramedics arrived. The man was transferred by ambulance to hospital, where he later died. Our thoughts are with his family,” they said.
“As is the case with any death during the course of a law enforcement operation, the police have been informed and the matter referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct which is investigating.
“It would be inappropriate to comment while this investigation is ongoing.”