A 20 year old black man has died after being thrown to the floor by a police officer and restrained. Rashan Charles was chased by the officer into a shop in Hackney, east London, in the early hours of Saturday morning.
CCTV footage, widely shared on Twitter, shows the officer throwing Rashan to the ground and holding him in a headlock. Rashan was taken to a hospital following the incident and was pronounced dead around an hour later.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said Rashan was “trying to swallow an object”.
“The officer intervened and sought to prevent the man from harming himself, but he was then taken ill,” he said.
The death has sparked fury on social media. One tweet read, “A young black man, a father, an older brother, a son, murdered by a police officer in Hackney.”
Another read, “Don’t get comfortable and think this will be a new normal. We will NOT stand for it.”
People gathered this morning, Sunday, outside the shop where Rashan died.
Awa, a family friend, told Socialist Worker, “When I heard that he was dead I wasn’t surprised at all.
“The cops are useless, they just target people, not just black people, for no reason—and it always ends up this way.
“I went to the same school, I knew his sister because we’re in the same year, but I was around him sometimes and he helped me.
“He didn’t do anything to deserve that, no one gave this boy a chance, but they’re already painting him as just a drug dealer.”
“He had a child, now that child will have to grow up without a father.”
Pauline, a local resident, told Socialist Worker, “Again it’s a black kid gone, the boy was killed by the police. When I say ‘Black Lives Matter’ people say ‘White Lives Matter. We know they do—but it’s not them that’s getting killed.
“Rash was having a cup of tea with me the other day.
“Some kids have life handed to them on a silver platter, some get shit handed to them, and Rash was trying.
“He should be alive today not lying in a mortuary."
Rashan’s death came a month after Edson Da Costa died after being stopped by police in Newham, east London.
His family said Edson suffered serious injuries as a result of the stop, including blindness caused by CS spray.
As with Rashan, police said he was trying to swallow something. The implication is that the men were swallowing drugs – and that this, not the actions of the cops, caused their deaths.
Metropolitan police borough commander for Hackney, Simon Laurence said, “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 cops’ pet watchdog, the IPCC, is investigating. No police officer has ever been convicted over a death in custody.