Rashan Charles’ family disappointed as coroner rules police officers will be anonymous at inquest into Dalston death

Rashan Charles. Picture: Family of Rashan Charles

Rashan Charles. Picture: Family of Rashan Charles - Credit: Archant

Two police officers involved in the restraint of Rashan Charles the night he died have been granted anonymity at his inquest in June.

The 20-year old father died in the early hours of July 22, an hour after being chased by police and tackled to the floor of the Yours Locally convenience store in Kingsland Road, Dalston.

Both officers – one of whom is currently on “restricted duties”, meaning he doesn’t have contact with members of the public – will be hidden from the public gallery and will only be referred to as BX47 and BX48 at the inquest at Poplar Coroner’s Court. Anonymity was also given to two witnesses.

The decision was made by coroner Mary Hassell at a pre-inquest review, where she rejected the argument there was a “direct threat” to officers’ lives – but was persuaded of a potential threat. Ms Hassell said that, while there is no suggestion Mr Charles belonged to a gang, “it might be that [a gang’s] local knowledge of him would prompt retribution which they would be unlikely to advertise in advance on behalf of one they see as their own”. She pointed to posts on social media such as “murder”, “kill me, I kill you” and “shoot the police” as indicators of a risk.

CCTV footage surfaced online hours after Rashan’s death, and his friends, family and supporters protested in Dalston and Stoke Newington in the days following, saying he had been a victim of police brutality.

But in her judgement Ms Hassell said she “deeply regretted” any departure from her “starting point of open justice” and recognised that there was already a lack of trust in the police.

Jude Bunting, representing the family, said: “The Black Lives Matter movement has taken this to heart.”

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A family spokesperson said afterwards: “Although this is disappointing, it was not unexpected. Our focus remains on the quality of the IPCC investigation of Rashan’s death, and on ensuring proper consideration is given to criminal charges.”

The IPCC says attempts were made to remove what turned out to be a package containing caffeine and paracetamol wrapped in cellophane from Rashan’s mouth or throat after he was detained.