A vigil is to be held for a man who died falling from his balcony after being shot with a Taser by police in south London, activists have said, as authorities appeal for his family and friends to come forward more than five months after his death.
The police watchdog, which is criminally investigating the actions of two Metropolitan police officers during the incident on 12 April, said it was trying to trace relatives of Zodoq Obatolah, 52, after he was formally identified at an inquest hearing on 1 September.
“While it is positive that Mr Obatolah has been identified, we are extremely keen to identify his relatives,” said Mel Palmer, the regional director of the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
“As part of our efforts so far we have conducted house to house inquiries as well as a witness appeal. We want to do everything we can to locate any relatives so that we can speak to them about Mr Obatolah’s death and our ongoing investigation.”
On Thursday, members of the Southwark branch of the Copwatch activist group, which monitors police action, said they planned to hold a vigil for Obatolah at the Rye Hill estate in Peckham, where he lived.
Organisers said they planned to gather at 2pm at the estate on Saturday to allow the local community to commemorate Obatolah, and lay candles in his memory. They said they planned to march to Peckham police station at 4pm, to hold a rally.
Obatolah died in the early hours of 12 April after falling from the balcony of his flat in a highrise building. He had been shot with Taser on the balcony by police officers who had responded to reports of a man threatening to jump.
Neighbours told the Guardian at the time he had been in distress for hours before police arrived. According to Mohamed Bah, Obatolah could be seen and heard shouting about jumping from the balcony during daylight hours. “[The shouting] was for the whole day. I came three or four times in and out of the house. He was up there the whole day, until the night. There was a banging on the door. I don’t know if it was the police or him, but he was saying: ‘If you come closer, I am going to jump.’”
Obatolah was described by neighbours as quiet, solitary and kind. Mourners who laid flowers at the scene said they wished they could have done more to help him.