Police trust 'needs urgent rebuilding' as probe shows Rashan Charles did not swallow drugs, Diane Abbott says

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Initial findings of a probe into the death of Rashan Charles will cause deep concern, Diane Abbott has said.

The shadow home secretary said urgent work must be done to rebuild trust between police and the community after the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) published preliminary results from its probe into the 20-year-old’s death

The watchdog said on Wednesday that an object removed from the 20-year-old’s throat by paramedics “did not contain a controlled substance”.

It comes after figures showed a “disproportionate” use of force against minority groups by police.

Unverified footage on social media appeared to show at least one police officer attempting to restrain Mr Charles on the floor of a shop in east London before he died later in hospital on July 22.


IPCC investigation: Rashan Charles was pronounced dead in hospital (Twitter)

Ms Abbott said: “The IPCC’s update, coupled with the release of a Metropolitan Police report highlighting a disproportionate use of force against BME (black and minority ethnic) people, will no doubt cause deep concern and upset.

“Urgent work must be done to rebuild trust and links between the police and the community.”

Mr Charles’ death sparked clashes with police in Hackney on Friday as demonstrators hurled bottles and fireworks at officers.


Tributes: A man lights a candle at the scene of the incident (PA)

Ms Abbott said the violent demonstrations were “wrong” and she joined with Mr Charles’ family in calling for peace.

“There must be justice for Rashan and his family, but there is absolutely no cause for any more violence,” the Hackney North and Stoke Newington Labour MP said.


Footage on CCTV of Rashan and police in a shop on Kingsland Road.

The IPCC said its investigation into the circumstances of Mr Charles’s death following contact with police in Hackney is “ongoing and making good progress”.

The watchdog said: “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.”

Last week, the IPCC said the evidence it had seen so far suggested that Mr Charles was detained by a Metropolitan Police officer who had followed him on foot into a shop on Kingsland Road after an earlier attempted vehicle stop.


Riot police were drafted into Kingsland Road on Friday. (PA)

The officer restrained Mr Charles, with the help of a member of the public, and he was handcuffed.

After he was detained, attempts were made to remove an object from his mouth or throat.

His condition deteriorated, and the officer called for a police medic who provided assistance prior to the arrival of paramedics, according to the IPCC.

On Tuesday figures released for the first time showed Metropolitan Police officers used “force” at a rate of around once every 10 minutes.

There were 12,605 incidents of force against people by individual officers were registered in the three months to the end of June.

The data showed 45% of the individuals subject to force were white, 36% black and 10% from the Asian community. 

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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