Rashan Charles death: Family urge peace on Hackney streets

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Families speak after the death of Rashan Charles
Image caption Families speak at a vigil after the death of Rashan Charles

The family of a black man who died after being apprehended by police has appealed for peace after unrest broke out on the streets in the wake of his death.

Rashan Charles, 20, died in Dalston, east London, on 22 July.

On Friday, angry clashes broke out as protesters blocked part of Kingsland Road and set mattresses alight.

A spokesman for Mr Charles’s family said they understood the anger but called for “dignified” protest.

“Burning down homes will not give justice,” they added.

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Media captionThe BBC’s Alex Collins: “Windows have been smashed open”

Mr Charles was pursued by officers and became ill after trying to swallow an object, the Met previously said.

He died later in hospital. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating.

Police warned that anyone using Mr Charles’s death “as an excuse to commit crime” would be “dealt with robustly”.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Tributes were laid in memory of Mr Charles

Family spokesman Stafford Scott said: “We understand your frustration, we understand your anger, don’t feel that the family doesn’t feel the anger and the frustration too.

“But what the family knows is taking it to the streets, doesn’t give you justice.

“Burning down your own homes, burning down your neighbourhood is not going to give you justice.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Violence broke out in Kingsland Road during a protest over the death of Mr Charles

Mr Scott, who runs race advocacy group Tottenham Rights, said black people had historically found it difficult “to win the hearts and minds of people”.

“We get no empathy, we get no sympathy. But this case is different – for once we’ve got the evidence.

“For once we’re not relying on the IPCC or the police to gather the evidence. The world has seen it and will feel it if we don’t get justice.”

He added the family needed to “fight this properly” and had sought out the best legal support.

Mr Scott said the family asked the community “to support them in their struggle, to be dignified when they expect us to be wild”.

Image caption Diane Abbott is the the local MP for the family

Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott told the protest she supported Mr Charles’s parents and would not rest until questions were answered.

In an earlier statement, the shadow home secretary said: “The anger and upset at the death of Rashan Charles is understandable.

“But Rashan’s family have explicitly spoken out against hostile actions. We must respect their wishes and any protests must be peaceful.”

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