The family of Rashan Charles has accused the Metropolitan Police of failing to “take what happened to him seriously” following its decision not to suspend the officer who restrained the 20-year-old “minutes” before his death.
Charles’ relatives said widely shared footage from 22 July shows the officer “grabbing Rashan and throwing him to the ground” in an “unprovoked use of a great deal of force”.
The young father was pronounced dead a few hours later at the Royal London Hospital, where doctors removed a mixture of paracetamol and caffeine wrapped in plastic from his throat.
His death sparked angry protests in Hackney amid rising tensions between the community and the police.
In a statement released today, his family said: “We have learned that the Metropolitan Police has decided not to suspend the officer who is seen on CCTV grabbing Rashan and throwing him to the ground on the night he died.
“This decision sends completely the wrong message about how seriously the Metropolitan Police take what happened to Rashan and we call on them to reconsider.
“Footage of this incident has been publicly available since 22 July 2017. It shows the unprovoked use of a great deal of force on a young man.
“Rashan died within minutes of that force being used, and we have not been satisfied that he received safe and prompt care from the police.
“Subsequent statements suggesting that Rashan ‘became unwell’ or that the officer was in some way ‘helping’ him are a distortion of what we can all see on-screen.
“We are disappointed and concerned that the simple reality of what is seen in the recording has not been translated into prompt and effective action by the police, Crown Prosecution Service and Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC): to suspend this officer and to investigate him as a suspect in possible criminal offences, as well as for gross misconduct. We will continue to press for this.”
Last week, IPCC chief Cindy Butts confirmed the watchdog was investigating the officer for “gross misconduct”.
In response, Scotland Yard released a statement saying it would be “reviewing what restrictions, if any, should be placed on the officer”.
The IPCC reportedly recommended that the Metropolitan Police suspend the officer.
Pauline Pearce, a spokesperson for Hackey Liberal Democrats and a friend of the Charles family, said: “It is very serious that the police are not taking the advice of the IPCC in this matter.
“We are talking about an incident in which a young man died and so far, even after other recent deaths following police contact, no officer has been suspended.”
She added: “Given the tension in the community following the death of young Rash, the police need to realise that every move they make is being scrutinised.”