Rashan Charles’s family make plea for ‘peace on the streets’ after clashes
Demonstrators blocked a Hackney road with wheelie bins and set mattresses alight following the death of Rashan Charles.
The family of a black man who died after a police chase have made a fresh plea for “peace on the streets” following violent clashes in east London.
Demonstrators blocked Kingsland Road in Hackney with wheelie bins, mattresses and debris on Friday afternoon – with bottles and fireworks later being thrown at officers as the growing anger bubbled over into the night.
Rashan Charles, 20, died in hospital last Saturday.
Unverified footage on social media appeared to show at least one police officer attempting to restrain him on the floor of a shop at 1.45am, close to where the protest was being held.
Outside Stoke Newington police station on Saturday, his father Esa gathered with the family of Edson Da Costa – who died last month, six days after being detained by police – for a vigil organised by Stand Up To Racism.
Stafford Scott, who stood next to Mr Charles and spoke on behalf of the family, directly addressed the young people who protested the night before, and said that they understand their anger and frustration.
The Metropolitan Police said a 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily over the disorder, while an officer, who suffered an eye injury, remains fit for duty.
Detective Superintendent Claire Crawley said: “The disorder of last night was separate from the peaceful protest at Stoke Newington police station that was held earlier that day.
“Don’t feel that the family don’t feel that anger and that frustration too. But what the family knows is that taking it to the streets doesn’t give you justice,” he said.
Mr Scott said the family have found the best legal support they can and are now asking the community to “support them in their struggle” but with “peace on the streets”.
“No justice, no peace doesn’t mean violence – it means we will not watch this in silence,” he added on their behalf.
Shadow home secretary and Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott told the crowd she felt it was important to attend the vigil to “show her support” for the families and parents of Mr Da Costa and Mr Charles.
“That is the call that every parent dreads. The call that tells you that your young child has died in those sorts of circumstances,” she said.
Ms Abbott said she agreed with what was said about the “importance of peace on the streets”, and added: “Violence is not the answer.
Mattresses and wheelie bins have been set alight at the barricade as night falls pic.twitter.com/nzqFgbgr8M— Sally Wardle (@sally_wardle) July 28, 2017
“But I am here to assure the parents and assure the community that I will stand by the parents in their fight for the truth.
“Most of us will have seen the video and there are questions to be answered, and I will not rest until those questions are answered.”
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) watchdog is investigating the events leading to the death of Mr Charles.
Those in the crowd at the vigil could be heard chanting “no justice, no peace” as they called for the police officer who arrested Mr Charles to be suspended.
Ginario Da Costa, the father of Edson, also spoke to the crowd of more than 50, and told the Charles family they “know what they are going through”.
“My son also suffered at the hands of the police and, like Rashan, is no longer with us today,” he said.
“We will continue to fight for justice, not only for justice for Edson and Rashan – for all those young black people, many who are being killed in police custody.”
Mr Da Costa died on June 21, six days after he was detained by police during a traffic stop.
Campaigners claim Mr Da Costa’s neck was broken and that he was “brutally beaten” after the car, containing three people, was halted in Woodcocks, Beckton.
His death is also being investigated by the IPCC, which has revealed an early pathology report shows he had “a number of packages in his throat” when he died.