BEIJING (AP) — Four of the five police officers involved in the high-profile death of a man in their custody have been fired, Beijing police said Thursday, following a public outcry against city prosecutors' move to drop charges against them.
The municipal Public Security Bureau said on its official microblog that four officers, including a deputy branch chief, were dismissed from their positions while the remaining officer was transferred to a non-law enforcement post.
Last week's decision by Beijing prosecutors to drop charges against the officers for the death of Lei Yang, a 29-year-old environmentalist, had sparked outrage among the country's burgeoning middle class, thousands of whom signed online petitions to protest the move.
In bringing the case initially, prosecutors said police acted "improperly" during Lei's arrest in May. When they dropped the case last week, the prosecutors said the five officers used excessive force and tried to cover up Lei's death but their actions didn't merit prosecution under Chinese law.