Socialist Worker

Rashan Charles struggled to breathe after being restrained, inquest hears

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2609

Flowers were left outside the shop in Hackney where Rashan Charles was restrained

Flowers were left outside the shop in Hackney where Rashan Charles was restrained (Pic: Dave Gilchrist)

An inquest into the death of Rashan Charles last week heard from witnesses to his restraint by a police officer.

A group of officers from the Territorial Support Group (TSG) were patrolling Hackney, east London, on the day Rashan died. These included officer BX47, who restrained Rashan, and officer BX48, who later gave Rashan first aid.

Local taxi driver Abdullah Ozpalas went into the shop while Rashan was restrained. He said BX47 “looked panicked”.

Another witness, James Walsh, said he had thought Rashan was choking.

Witness Callum McCrae said “Rashan was struggling to breathe. He went quite still. I could tell something was not quite right.”

BX47 called more officers to the scene before calling an ambulance.

Police safety trainer Ian Reid told the court that an ambulance should have been called if there was a suspicion that someone had swallowed drugs.


He also said he would have removed Rashan’s handcuffs once he realised it was a medical emergency.

BX48 removed the handcuffs when she entered the shop and attempted CPR on Rashan.

The inquest also heard that Rashan had been arrested on suspicion of dealing class A drugs a month before his death.

Some packages seized from his grandmother’s house were the same as the package of paracetamol and coffee found in his airway after his death.

Others contained cocaine.

The court also heard that Rashan had a number of previous convictions for possession of cannabis and other drugs offences.

BX47 previously told the inquest that Rashan Charles was not on a list of wanted individuals that the TSG had been briefed about.

The coroner was expected to sum up the case on Tuesday, as Socialist Worker went to press.

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