Rashan Charles

Rashan Charles’ father (left) stands beside Edson da Costa’s father as he speaks

Like many I watched in horror as a video on social media showed a young black man being held down on the floor of a shop in Dalston by a police officer, with help from another man not wearing uniform (though some reports said he was also a police officer but others describe him as a ‘member of the public’.) According to the police, Rashan Charles became “ill” and was taken to hospital where he died shortly after, though others say he died on that shop floor.

Dianne Abbott MP

There will be an inquest later this year which will perhaps clarify some of the details, though the two men responsible for his death have already been granted anonymity (though I think their names are known to many.) The Independent Police Complaints Commission advised the Met to suspend the officer involved but they refused. The IPPC (now the Independent Office for Police Conduct – IOPC but otherwise much the same) sent a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for the police officer to be charged with common assault, but they decided that “the evidential test for a prosecution for common assault is not met. We will therefore not be taking any further action regarding this offence.” Presumably they haven’t seen the video.

Tottenham anti-racist campaigner Stafford Scott speaks for the Charles family

Rashan Charles’ great-uncle Rod Charles, a retired police sergeant with 30 years service with the force and former representative of the Police Federation, has commented that the the force used appears to contravene the official police guidance and described it as “unreasonable, disproportionate, unnecessary and excessive” and that the police failure to explain the purpose for the arrest also appears to be in contravention of the law.

Rashan Charles was one of three young black men who died at the hands of police in the past few weeks, the others being Edson da Costa, who died after arrest in East Ham and Darren Cumberbatch, who died earlier this month after arrest in Nuneaton. People held up pictures of all three men at the protest.

The protest outside Stoke Newington Police Station was organised by Stand Up To Racism, and I was disappointed that no-one from the Movement for Justice who had come in support was allowed to speak, though you can see their large posters in some of my pictures. Also missing was a speaker from the United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC) which has led the fight for the families or those killed by police and in prisons etc over the last 20 years or so. It seemed a shame that the event represented a sectarian approach rather than uniting the different groups concerned and active in the area. It’s an approach that has also weakened the campaign to get justice for Grenfell Tower.

More at Justice for Rashan Charles.


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