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Rashan Charles tried to swallow paracetamol and caffeine in shop hours before his death – police

PUBLISHED: 17:16 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

Rashan Charles had tried to swallow paracetamol and caffeine wrapped in cellophane when police tackled him in a Dalston shop, police have said.

The revelation, made in an e-mail from a senior officer seen by the Gazette, comes hours after the Independent Police Complaints Commission made a statement saying the object removed from his throat at the scene had not contained any illegal substances.

Mr Charles died hours after being chased into Yours Locally in Kingsland Road at 1.45am on July 22. He was seen in CCTV footage being held down by a member of the public and handcuffed by a police officer.

The IPCC is investigating his death.

It came weeks after Edson Da Costa was detained by police during a traffic stop in Beckton on June 15. He died six days later. Both men’s cases are being investigated by the IPCC.

Tensions over Mr Charles’s death boiled over at the weekend when protests saw Kingsland Road blocked and fires lit. One boy has been charged with committing grievous bodily harm after two people were left with minor injuries.

Mr Charles’s family called for peace but demanded the suspension of the police officer involved in restraining him – something the police said there was “no grounds” to do.

After the Gazette published the finding that Mr Charles had tried to swallow the two legal substances, Cindy Butts, the commissioner overseeing the investigation at the IPCC, issued a statement.

“Since the tragic death of Rashan Charles in the early hours of [July 22], there has been much public speculation and anger,” she said.

“The IPCC is independently scrutinising all the evidence, in order to provide answers for Rashan’s family, friends and the wider public - but we don’t work in a bubble.

“We are well aware of the discussion that’s going on around the case and the need to do our part to help people have confidence in our investigation.

“Yesterday, we received analysis of the contents of a package that paramedics removed from Rashan’s airway after he was detained and restrained by a police officer and member of the public. Following a very constructive meeting with Rashan’s family, we stated that the package did not contain controlled substances. We did not provide further details, because the contents of the package are not directly relevant to our investigation – we are looking into the circumstances of Rashan’s death, not investigating Rashan.

“However, given the inflammatory nature of some ongoing speculation I will confirm that the package consisted of a mixture of paracetamol and caffeine wrapped in plastic. At this stage we have not been provided with a confirmed cause of death for Rashan and our investigation is ongoing.

“Rashan’s family have appealed for calm, while we undertake our important work. I would echo their appeal and reassure the public that our investigation will consider every shred of available evidence.”

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