Socialist Worker

Family demand truth and justice after death of Edson Da Costa who was stopped by cops

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2560

Edir Frederico Da Costa

Edir Frederico Da Costa


A fight for truth and justice is underway after a man died after being arrested in Newham, east London.

Police stopped Edir Frederico Da Costa, known as Edson, in a car on 15 June. The cops’ pet watchdog, the IPCC, said, “It is believed police officers used force and deployed CS spray”.

Edson’s family said that his neck was broken in two places, and that he had a fractured skull, a fallen voice box and a ruptured bladder.

The IPCC complained that this was “unhelpful speculation”. But Edson’s cousin Larissa Dos Santos wrote on Facebook, “My family hired a private doctor who gave us the list of injuries.”

In a statement Larissa said how she felt on hearing of Edson's injuries was "indescribable". She said that Edson was not identified until the day after he was taken to hospital.

His father, Ginario da Costa, told a Portuguese news agency that friends said Edson “fell to the ground and a policeman put a knee on his throat”.

A GoFundMe page was set up to support Edson’s family with funeral and legal expenses. It asks people to help “get justice for the cruel and brutal beating of a father, a son, a brother, cousin, uncle and dear friend”.

It says, “Edson was lying in hospital for six days on life support after having his neck broken in two places, head injuries that caused his brain to completely die and was sprayed directly into his eyes so heavily that he lost his eye sight.

“The police that did this left the scene immediately after following no basic protocol. Sadly we were forced to say goodbye on Wednesday 21st June and lost a priceless soul.

“This is a call for justice, not just for Edson but for all young men that are forgotten and unprotected in this reckless system.”

The IPCC said Edson became “unwell” during the arrest and that a post-mortem exam found “there were no injuries to suggest severe force was used”. It added, “Further investigations will be undertaken by the pathologist to establish the cause of death.”

Edson was 25 years old and moved to Britain in 1996. He had a young son and his girlfriend is pregnant with his second child.

Larissa said these incidents make young people "more and more defiant against the police and authority".

"I will not rest until justice is served and these gangsters are put behind bars," she said. 

"A system that constantly condones violence without repercussion doesn't need to be revised, it needs to be dismantled."

Support the campaign – Protest at Forest Gate police station, 2pm, Sunday 25 June. follow #Justice4Edson and #JusticeForEdson on Twitter. Make a donation to support the family at www.gofundme.com/justiceforedson

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