‘I WILL not stop with this case while I’m still breathing,’ Rod Charles vowed yesterday. Rod Charles is the great uncle of Rashan Charles who died after being restrained by police officers.
Rashan Jermaine Charles died after being arrested by the police in the early hours of Saturday morning, July 22 2017 in an off licence on Kingsland Road, Hackney, east London. He was only 20 years old.
An inquest into Rashan Charles’ death concluded yesterday that the police officer used ‘justified’ force against Rashan Charles. This was despite CCTV from the shop showing the police officer wrestling Rashan Charles to the floor, restraining him. The footage seems to show the police officer with his hand to Rashan Charles’ throat.
Speaking before the verdict was returned, Rod Charles who is 54-years-old, said: ‘This inquest, I’ve said from day one, is a farce. I have due respect for the jury … but I have rafts and waves of concerns with the process.’
Rod Charles continued: ‘I have had to listen to implausible evidence at times, and at times downright lies.’ He was critical of the use of ‘expert witnesses’, who he insisted were ‘not impartial and not objective’. The officers involved in the detention were granted anonymity during the inquest at St Pancras Coroner’s Court.
They were referred to in court as BX47 and BX48 as they gave evidence from behind a black curtain. The officer known only as ‘BX47’ said that following a struggle he used a ‘seatbelt’ hold to take Rashan Charles to the floor. He then tried to get him to open his mouth, first by pressing his jaw and then by pushing on his abdomen.
The officer, responding under questioning, said he did not follow parts of his first aid training when dealing with the incident. The officer used the radio to phone for back-up and then some time later called for an ambulance. He admitted he probably ‘should have called for an ambulance sooner’.
When asked why he had not asked Rashan Charles if he was choking, or deemed him to be needing immediate medical attention and called an ambulance, BX47 said: ‘That would probably be that I was not aware he was choking.’ The officer has not even been sacked, only his duties ‘restricted’.
Just a month before Rashan died, another young black man, Edir Frederico da Costa, also known as Edson, died six days after he was detained by police in Woodcocks, Beckton, in Newham.
The family of Edson da Costa said that he was brutally beaten and left in a coma following a police stop in east London.
They said that his neck had been broken in two places, CS gas sprayed in his eyes to the extent that he went blind. He had suffered a fractured skull, crushed voice box and ruptured bladder, leaving him in a coma and braindead.
After they switched off Edson’s life support, angry demonstrations erupted on the streets of Forest Gate and Stratford where masses of youth marched on Forest Gate police station shouting ‘murderers!’ Mass demonstrations also erupted after Rashan Charles died with marches up Kingsland High Road and angry demonstrations outside Stoke Newington police station.