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Rashan Charles: Family slam Met’s decision not to suspend police officer

PUBLISHED: 10:53 20 September 2017 | UPDATED: 10:10 22 September 2017

Rashan Charles. Picture: Family of Rashan Charles

Rashan Charles. Picture: Family of Rashan Charles

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The family of Rashan Charles have slammed the Met’s decision to not suspend the officer who wrestled the 20-year-old to the ground on the night he died.

Flowers were laid outside Yours Locally in Kingsland Road following the death of Rashan Charles. Picture: Emma Bartholomew Flowers were laid outside Yours Locally in Kingsland Road following the death of Rashan Charles. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

Police watchdog the IPCC is investigating the officer for gross misconduct and recommended he be suspended while it takes place.

But the Gazette has learnt Scotland Yard has instead decided simply to put the officer on restricted duties, rather than suspend him.

“Restricted duties” means he does not have any contact with members of the public, but can still work.

Rashan’s family said in a statement: “We have learned 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.

Hackney Stand Up To Racism members protest outside Stoke Newington police station in the wake of his death in July. Picture: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire Hackney Stand Up To Racism members protest outside Stoke Newington police station in the wake of his death in July. Picture: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

“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 July 22. 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, CPS and 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.”

Rashan died in the early hours of July 22 after being chased into Yours Locally, Kingsland Road, and tackled to the floor by police.

CCTV footage surfaced online hours after his death. Friends, family and supporters of Rashan protested in Dalston and Stoke Newington in the days following his death, saying he was a victim of police brutality and demanding the officer’s suspension.

Defending the decision to not suspend the officer, the Met’s deputy assistant commissioner Richard Martin said: “I fully understand the strength of public feeling about the tragic death of Rashan Charles.

“All the circumstances surrounding his death are subject to independent scrutiny by the IPCC. Throughout this investigation both the officer concerned and the MPS have fully co-operated with the IPCC investigation and will continue to do so.

“I have carefully considered the IPCC’s representations and the views of key partners in making my decision.

“The officer concerned will be office-based and have no direct contact with any member of the public whilst the investigation is ongoing.

“As always, the serving of a notice by the IPCC does not mean that misconduct has been proven against an officer.”

The IPCC previously said it had found that after Rashan was detained, attempts were made to remove an object from his mouth or throat. It was later revealed that a package removed from his throat had been a mixture of caffeine and paracetamol wrapped in cellophane.

Two post mortem examinations have been carried out on Rashan, the second on behalf of his family and the police – but no medical cause of death has yet been offered. The results of toxicology and other tests are still pending, coroner’s officer David Brereton said.

An inquest is scheduled to take place in June next year, following the IPCC investigation.

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