Rashan Charles: Police watchdog finds Met officer ‘froze’ – but he is cleared of misconduct

Rashan Charles. Picture: Family of Rashan Charles

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

An investigation into the death of Rashan Charles found the performance of the Met officer who restrained him “fell short of expected standards” – but did not amount to misconduct.

The family of Rashan Charles, including his father Esa (second right) arrive at Poplar Coroner's Cou

The family of Rashan Charles, including his father Esa (second right) arrive at Poplar Coroner's Court last year for a pre-inquest hearing. Picture: PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) published its long-awaited report yesterday (Wed), more than a year after the probe was launched.

Rashan died in the early hours of July 22 2017, after he was chased by a police officer and wrestled to the ground in Yours Locally, Kingsland Road, Dalston. A cellophane package containing paracetamol and caffeine was retrieved from his throat by a paramedic and he was taken to hospital. But he died an hour later because obstruction of his airways had led to cardiac arrest. In June an inquest ruled his death was accidental.

The IOPC considered why the officer attempted to stop the car Rashan was in and why he was searched and put him in handcuffs, as well as the nature of the restraint and first aid given. It found:

• The decision to stop the hired car was reasonable as the driving had been suspicious. It was not racially motivated

• There were reasonable grounds to stop and search Rashan due to his behaviour in running from the car

• Because of that, the officer used reasonable, necessary and proportionate force during the restraint

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• While the technique used in the restraint was unorthodox, it did not cause any injury to Rashan’s throat or contribute to his death

• The officer not follow recognised first aid protocols, especially in his delay of calling an ambulance after it became clear Rashan could have swallowed something

Jonathan Green of the IOPC said the officer made some “basic failings” that represented a failure to perform his role satisfactorily either through a lack of competence or capability.

He said: “The evidence suggests the situation which developed, did so rapidly, taking the officer by surprise to the extent that he ‘froze’. These failures were not deliberate and he did his best in difficult circumstances.”

Last month Rashan’s uncle Rod Charles, a Met officer of 20 years, wrote in the Gazette that he believed the IOPC investigation was “flawed”.

The Met has reacted to the findings. Deputy assistant commissioner Richard Martin said today: “The IOPC investigation has identified some learning to take forward for BX47 and this will be progressed.”