A police investigation has been launched after a 20-year-old man, named locally as Rashan Charles, died shortly after being apprehended by police in east London. Footage of the July 22 incident has emerged online and people are using the hashtag #JusticeForRash to call for answers.
In a statement, the Metropolitan police said Charles was followed on foot into a nearby shop after officers tried to stop a car on Kingsland Road, Hackney, in the early hours of Saturday.
The IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) has launched an investigation. In a separate statement it said it obtained evidence indicating an object was removed from Charles's throat at the scene.
Security camera footage, recorded in the shop, appears to show a man entering a shop followed soon after by a uniformed police officer. There is a subsequent struggle between the pair. Another man helps the officer as he handcuffs the first man, securing his hands behind his back.
Simon Laurence, borough commander for Hackney, released the following statement: “A man, who was in the car, was pursued on foot before entering a shop where he was seen to be trying to swallow an object. He was then taken ill.He was taken to hospital by the London ambulance service where, sadly, he died later that morning. Our thoughts remains with family and friends. The IPCC has launched an independent investigation to establish what happened and has viewed the the officers’ body-worn video.
“There is likely to be speculation over the next few days regarding what led to this man becoming ill so I would encourage people to keep up to date with the IPCC’s statement, as and when they are released. All police officers are fully aware that they will be asked to account for their actions – officers are not exempt from the law and we would not wish to be.”
The IPCC said: “The man became unwell and first aid was provided by a police officer, police medic and paramedics. The IPCC has obtained evidence which indicates an object was removed from his throat at the scene. The man was then transported to the Royal London hospital, where he sadly died soon afterwards.
“The IPCC declared an independent investigation at 3:10 a.m. and investigators were deployed to the scene and to the post-incident procedure. Initial accounts have been taken from a number of non-police eye witnesses who saw the incident, as well as the police officers involved. CCTV footage from inside the shop and police body worn video has been gathered and viewed.”
Campaigners from Hackney Stand Up To Racism are holding a vigil outside Stoke Newington police station from 6 p.m. on Monday, July 24, to raise their concerns about Charles's death.