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Item taken from Rashan Charles’ throat ‘did not contain controlled substance’

PUBLISHED: 07:41 03 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:00 04 August 2017

Flowers have been laid outside the Yours Locally shop in Kingsland Road, in memory of Rashan Charles

Flowers have been laid outside the Yours Locally shop in Kingsland Road, in memory of Rashan Charles

Emma Bartholomew

An object removed from the throat of Rashan Charles after a police chase in Dalston “did not contain a controlled substance”, according to forensic analysis.

Unverified footage appeared to show at least one officer attempting to restrain 20-year-old Mr Charles on the floor of Yours Locally in Kingsland Road on July 22. He later died in hospital.

His death sparked violent clashes with police in Dalston on Friday, as demonstrators hurled bottles and fireworks at officers.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) watchdog, which is investigating the events leading to Mr Charles’ death, said: “The IPCC has now received results of forensic analysis of an object that was removed from Rashan’s airway by paramedics. The object did not contain a controlled substance.”

The IPCC said its investigation into the circumstances of Mr Charles’s death following contact with officers is “ongoing and making good progress”. It added: “Our independent investigation is thoroughly examining all aspects of police interaction with Rashan prior to his death and has already undertaken a large number of investigative actions.”

The watchdog said its staff met Mr Charles’s family yesterday afternoon to update them with the results of the analysis.

Weyman Bennett, co-convenor at Stand Up To Racism, said: “We now know that the initial statements put out at the time of Rashan’s death were misleading or outright lies. Justification for his death looks increasingly at the hands of those people that forcibly restrained him.

“The attempt to smear Rashan as somebody involved in drugs was an attempt to assassinate his character. We hold the police wholly responsible for these false statements that were put out, and we demand justice for Rashan.”

Mr Charles’s family made a fresh plea for “peace on the streets” following Friday’s violent clashes.

Demonstrators blocked Kingsland Road in Hackney with wheelie bins, mattresses and debris on Friday afternoon. Bottles and fireworks were later thrown at officers as anger bubbled over into the night.

Outside Stoke Newington police station on Saturday, his father Esa gathered with the family of Edson Da Costa – who died in June, six days after being detained by police – for a vigil organised by Stand Up To Racism.

Reporting by Press Association

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