By Sadie Robinson
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Anger on the streets as march demands justice for Rashan Charles

This article is over 6 years, 8 months old
Issue 2564
On the march
On the march (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Hundreds of angry protesters marched through east London this evening, Monday, demanding justice for Rashan Charles.

Rashan died after being thrown to the ground by a police officer in a shop in Hackney in the early hours of Saturday morning. Protesters gathered outside Stoke Newington police station this evening for a vigil called by Stand Up To Racism.

Rashan’s father, Esa, told the crowd, “We are calling for justice.”

There was fury towards the cops. Dee, a Hackney resident, told Socialist Worker, “Its black person after black person being killed by police.

“They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it. People have to speak up.”

CCTV footage from the shop shows the officer wrestling Rashan to the ground in a headlock then holding him on the floor. Dee said, “If you watch the video you can see he wasn’t resisting arrest at all.

“But they threw him to the ground and covered his mouth. The police behaviour is totally unjustified.”

Outside Stoke Newington police station
Outside Stoke Newington police station (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Ridge joined the demo as he was passing. “I watched the video and it was shocking,” he told Socialist Worker. “The police have too much power. But I think they’ll get away with it – they got away with killing Mark Duggan a few years ago.”

Many on the protest felt the same – but stressed that it is important to come together and be heard. 

Faith from Walthamstow said, “It’s good to stand together when something terrible happens. If it was me I’d want people to be out here for me. At least we are making things known.”

Winner of the Voice Jermain Jackman told Socialist Worker, “Its important for us to show solidarity and stand side by side.

Rashan’s father, Esa, told the crowd, “We are calling for justice.”

Rashan’s father, Esa, told the crowd, “We are calling for justice.” (Pic: Socialist Worker)

“Police need to suspend the officer while there is an investigation, not issue their first statement backing up the police version of events. That just justified the death.”

Cops have said Rashan put something in his mouth and that the officer was trying to help get it out. “If someone has something in their mouth, you don’t put them in a chokehold,” said Jermain.

“You wouldn’t do that with a baby. The police officer knew exactly what he was doing.”

Other people questioned the ability of the IPCC to hold the police to account.

“What annoys me is, when things like this happen, the investigation is done by the police,” said Michael from Hackney. “The IPCC is all ex-police. How can you have the police investigating the police? How is that democratic?”

Ginario, the father of Edson Da Costa, also spoke to protesters. Edson died last month after being stopped by police – and there are similarities with how cops portrayed both deaths.

Ginario told the crowd, “Now there is another father like me in this situation. We suffer. We need to be together. This is not finished.”

Protesters held a minute’s silence for Rashan and for Edson. The 200-strong crowd, joined by othhers as it went, marched to the shop where Rashan was thrown to the floor by the cop.

The chants included, “No justice, no peace – fuck the police,” and, “Who are the murderers? Police are the murderers.” It showed the deep anger that exists towards the cops.

Others had bad experiences of the police – and weren’t going to fall for their version of events.

Hackney resident Max told Socialist Worker, “I’ve been in that police station three times. They kept me in longer than they had to.

“I’m here supporting these people.”

Max ridiculed cops’ insinuation that Rashan was a drug dealer, as if this justified the killing. “There are an incredible amount of posh white drug dealers,” he said. “They live in amazing places and they sell drugs.

“If this was about drugs, why aren’t they arrested?”

Stand Up to Racism has called another demonstration this Saturday, 29 July, 2pm, Stoke Newington police station.

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