Shanxi police official faces trial after interrogation subject ends up in a coma

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 June, 2014, 6:37pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 June, 2014, 6:37pm

A former deputy police chief in Shanxi province is facing trial over the handling of a suspect who somehow fell off the police station and slipped into a coma after interrogation.

Cao Jun, 26, a former soldier, had been found lying on the ground after falling two floors from the Fenyang city police station, just 15 minutes after he was taken into custody for alleged theft on June 20 last year.

The victim’s family alleges that police deputy Wang Guangjiong beat up Cao during questioning and later threw him off the building.

They said the theft allegation was a mistake and that Cao – who has woken up from a more than 40-day coma – should not have been a suspect.

Cao’s father is hoping Wang will face an intentional homicide charge.

Wang was sacked from the force and detained. He was released on bail and is awaiting trial soon for dereliction of duty. Other police personnel linked to the case have been punished, but the details were unclear.

A police investigation team sent by the Public Safety Bureau of Lvliang, which has Fenyang under its jurisdiction, confirmed that the case against Cao was a misunderstanding, according to the Beijing Times.

But it denied that he was pushed by an officer, saying Cao jumped off the building.

“Cao Jun became very emotional during the questioning all of a sudden,” the investigators wrote in a report. “After throwing his phone on the ground, he caught the police off-guard and jumped off from the second floor.”

Cao told the newspaper that on the night in question, he went to the residence of a person who owed him 9,000 yuan (HK$11,300) so he could ask for the money back.

Cao did military service in Jiangsu province until 2008, before getting a job at Chinese state oil giant Sinopec.

But when the person refused to open the door, Cao climbed up onto the roof and tried another way in. Seeing the suspicious figure on the roof, moving in the darkness, neighbours called the police.

Cao said that during interrogation, three policemen ignored his explanations and beat him up “but not brutally”. “They said I wasn’t honest,” Cao told the Beijing Times.

However, Cao said, “Deputy chief Wang Guangjiong suddenly rushed in the room and hit my head with a police baton. I passed out.”

Due to injuries sustained during the alleged beating and fall, parts of Cao’s body are paralysed and he is near-blind.

His doctor said it was a “miracle” he emerged from a coma, but warned there would be serious “after effects” and may be permanently disabled.