Bitter anger against the police burst onto the streets of east London last night, Sunday.
Hundreds of people protested demanding justice for Edir Frederico Da Costa, known as Edson, who died after being arrested on 15 June. “The police killed Edson,” one protester told Socialist Worker.
“They lied about what happened and we will fight until we get the truth.”
People gathered at Forest Gate police station, marched into Stratford shopping centre and then back to the police station. Chanting “Justice for Edson” and “We want justice” they wanted to make sure there cannot be a cover-up.
Protesters held a minute’s silence and then motorcycles revved their engines as people demanded answers from the police. Late into the night people were still outside the police station and fires were lit in the street.
Fabio, who was on the protest, told Socialist Worker, “They beat him, we have evidence that shows the police account is a lie. One of our brothers has been killed—and we want to know those responsible.
He added, “There have been too many cases like this, too many young black men killed by police.
“This will not be another case where the police lies go unchallenged.”
The police stopped Edson in a car on 15 June. His 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 toothless Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) complained that this was “unhelpful speculation”, but admitted officers had used force and CS spray during the arrest. The IPCC later denied the injuries alleged by the family.
Ginario Da Costa, Edson’s father, told a Portuguese news agency that friends said Edson “fell to the ground and a police officer put a knee on his throat”.
Anne, a protester, said, “At Grenfell Tower we saw many, many people killed because the people at the top treat poor people and black people as unworthy. Here they treated Edson as unworthy. It is the same thing!
“You only get change when you fight, when you are a problem for the authorities. Grenfell must be a problem, we must be a problem.”
Protester Marlene added, “We want answers—we are not going away.”
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”.
“This is a call for justice, not just for Edson but for all young men that are forgotten and unprotected in this reckless system.”
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.