Rashan Charles death: Father calls for peace as furious protesters hurl missiles at police during march

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The father of a young black man who died after a police chase begged demonstrators not to take matters into their own hands at a march protesting his son’s death.

More than 300 people gathered outside the 24-hour shop in Dalston, east London, where Rashan Charles, 20, died after apparently swallowing a package and being restrained by an officer.

Although advertised on social media as a peaceful demonstration, masked activists among the crowd chanted “murderers” at police while others started fires and hurled bottles and bangers.

It brought the busy shopping street to a standstill for several hours with road diversions in place throughout the evening. 

Dramatic images posted on social media showed crowds gather around fires on Kingsland Road late into the night.

Onlookers branded the scene as “volatile” and described the moment protesters “mobbed” police officers.

One user wrote: “Feels pretty volatile in Kingsland Road right now. Keep it peaceful, both protesters and coppers, please….”

Another added: “Hooligans just mobbed about 6 officers on Kingsland Road. Throwing bricks and bottles.”

There have been warnings that Mr Charles’ death in the early hours on Saturday, which was captured on CCTV, could spark another summer of riots six years after the shooting of Mark Duggan.

As the crowd assembled outside the police station in Stoke Newington, Rashan’s father Patrick Charles said: “I’m a father but my son was killed in the hands of police. Me and my family are grieving over this.


Rashan Charles death: Furious protesters outside the shop where a young man died after being chased by police (Lucy Young)

“I thank everyone for their support, it’s a comfort to us to read your messages. We are seeking justice on this but I want everybody to be peaceful. This is not something we are going to take into our own hands.”

Ginario Da Costa, whose son Edson, 25, died after being restrained by police in Beckton last month, also gave an emotional address to the crowd.

He said: “It’s only one month since my son died I wanted it to stop before there was a second father like me in my situation. 


Rashan Charles was seen on CCTV apparently swallowin an object shortly before he died

“We suffer, but we need to be together and tell police to stop. Whatever kids are doing they do not deserve to have their lives taken. This is not finished.”

The vigil was organised by Stand Up To Racism, and campaigners say they are “enormously concerned and angered” over the death. A follow-up protest is being planned for Saturday.


Members from Hackney Stand Up To Racism protest outside Stoke Newington Police Station. (PA)

Mother-of-three Yasmine, 38, said Rashan had a “heart of gold” and would call her “Mama” when he came into her shop close to where he lived.

She said: “Rashan was like one of my sons, I have kids his age and it could have been my daughter in that video.


Crowds of protesters marched to Stoke Newington police station on Monday night. (Bobby Chakraborty)

“He had a heart of gold and was a young kid trying to get along in life. He wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth but he didn’t deserve that treatment, no one does.”

The demonstration was closely marshalled by police who have worked hard to engage with the families of the victim and the wider community. 

Police watchdog the IPCC, which is investigating both deaths, posted messages on Twitter using the #JusticeForRash hashtag throughout the evening directing protestors to latest updates on the investigation.

The Met said Charles was seen “trying to swallow an object” and that an officer “sought to prevent the man from harming himself”.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said there were no arrests or any officers injured in last night’s disorder.

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