Angry protesters challenge police over death of Rashan Charles

Demonstrators brought a busy London high street to a standstill on Monday evening in protest at the death of a black man after a police chase.

Unverified footage on social media appeared to show at least one police officer attempting to restrain Rashan Charles, 20, on the floor of a convenience store on Kingsland Road, east London, on Saturday at 1.45am.

Rashan Charles appears to struggle with police in London shop

Charles was taken to Royal London hospital, where he died a short time later.

Last night approximately 150 people, some with placards bearing the words “Black Lives Matter”, gathered outside Stoke Newington police station. The crowd chanted “No justice, no peace” as each speaker took to the microphone.

Maha, a 25-year-old student who attended the protest with a friend, said: “It seems like if we don’t nip this in the bud and if we don’t get justice, then people will think they can get away with it. Not just the police, it’s a whole racist mentality and if the police can do it then civilians will think they can do it. It’s important we raise as much awareness as possible.”

She added: “The police are supposed to be protecting us but they’re being reckless with our lives.”

Another woman, 24, who did not want to be named, said: “I just think it’s sad. We got through the civil rights movement. We’re supposed to be equal. And it’s not just black people. It’s about all the races, anyone of colour, Muslims, anyone who is poor – they’re being failed.”

The vigil was organised by Stand Up To Racism and campaigners say they are “enormously concerned and angered” over his death.

The victim’s family distanced themselves from the protest. Pauline Pearce, a friend of the Charles family, said in a statement: “The parents, the family have requested we keep calm. There are many organisations out there that are jumping on the bandwagon, running and organising these police protests at the station. This is nothing to do with the family, it has no authorisation from the family.”

In the wake of his death, Charles – who had a baby daughter – was described by his friends as “gentle and caring” and with a generous nature.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the death. The Metropolitan police said Charles was seen “trying to swallow an object” and that an officer “sought to prevent the man from harming himself”.

The IPCC tweeted last night: “For those following #justiceforrash #justiceforrashman – we are making good progress, building a full picture of what happened and why.

“We know people have concerns, but our independent investigation will be thorough, rigorous & when appropriate its findings will be published.”

In a statement, Ch Supt Simon Laurence, the borough commander for Hackney, said: “All police officers understand that they will be asked to account for their actions and they would not want it any other way,” adding: “I understand his death has had an impact on some members of the local community.”

He also said he had met community representatives and wanted to continue to hear about community concerns.

Charles’s death was the second police-related death in London in a little over a month. Edson Da Costa, 25, died last month after being restrained by police in Beckton, east London and there were protests against alleged police brutality following his death.

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