Over 1,500 people attended a vigil in Cardiff for two teenagers whose deaths in an vehicle crash sparked riots against the police.

Crowds gathered at the spot in Ely, Cardiff on Friday night where Kyrees Sullivan, 16, and Harvey Evans, 15, died in an electric bike crash on Monday.

Claims South Wales Police were following the two in a police pursuit before they crashed spread on social media, leading to riots and disorder on the night.

Labour’s Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales, Alun Michael, initially rejected these as “false rumours”, but CCTV footage emerged showing a South Wales Police van following the teenagers shortly before the incident.

Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Bacon then confirmed the police van had been been following the bike but said there was no police vehicle on Snowden Road at the time of the collision.

On Friday night, people carried blue balloons and let off blue and orange flares into the sky in tribute of Kyrees and Harvey.

Speaking at the vigil, Harvey’s great uncle, John O’Driscoll, told PA news agency: “What happened on Monday with that was wrong, the boys were wrong. But it was out of frustration.”They were just young boys. Everyone rides bikes and scooters around here. Yes, we find them annoying but that’s just what they do.”But as soon as those coppers saw they had no helmets they should’ve stopped.”

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating the incident, and has appealed to witnesses who may have seen the moments before the crash.

It has said the investigation was examining the “nature of the police interaction” with Kyrees and Harvey and the “appropriateness” of the officers’ decisions and actions.

The watchdog is also considering whether the police officers’ actions in the van constituted a pursuit, and whether the interaction between the officers and the boys was “reported appropriately by the officers prior to and following the collision”.

Nine people aged between 15 and 29 have been arrested on suspicion of rioting.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said the people of Ely were experiencing a “collective trauma” over the deaths of Harvey and Kyrees.

He said community representatives, the Welsh Government and Cardiff Council met today over the incident to decide on a plan for the area.

“We have agreed to jointly sponsor a grassroots-led initiative to create a community plan for Ely, to respond to the long-term needs of residents. It will be focused on actions and outcomes for people in Ely.”

With additional reporting from PA news agency.

2023-05-26T22:13:58Z dg43tfdfdgfd