Rashan Charles death: Police officer investigated for gross misconduct after young man died in custody

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A police officer is being investigated for gross misconduct over the death of Rashan Charles in east London.

The father-of-one, aged 20, died in police custody after being restrained by an officer in a shop in Dalston on July 22.

The police watchdog, which is carrying out an investigation into his death, has confirmed the officer involved is under investigation for gross misconduct.

CCTV footage of the incident appeared to show Mr Charles swallowing an object as he ran into the shop at around 1.45am, with the officer in pursuit.

The images then show him being grabbed by the officer who wrestles him to the floor, with the pair struggling for at least a minute.

Forensic tests have revealed Mr Charles tried to swallow a mixture of paracetamol and caffeine wrapped in plastic.

IPCC Commissoner Cindy Butts said: “The IPCC investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Rashan Charles in Hackney on 22 July has entered a new phase.

“IPCC investigators have formally notified the officer who initially restrained Rashan that he is being investigated for gross misconduct.

“The officer may have breached the police standards of professional behaviour regarding the detention and restraint of Rashan as well as how he dealt with Rashan’s medical emergency.”

Ms Butts said investigators have analysed the CCTV and body worn video evidence gathered and considered the officer’s detailed statement as well as statements from other witnesses to the incident.

CCTV of the moment Rashan Charles enters shop

“While this move indicates a new phase in our investigation, it does not necessarily mean misconduct proceedings will follow,” she added.

“We will keep the position under review as the investigation progresses.”

The opening into Mr Charles’ inquest last month heard that there had been two post-mortem examinations carried out on the unemployed man, who lived in south west London – the second on behalf of his family and the police.

Local MP Diane Abbott attended a vigil outside Stoke (REUTERS)

But coroner’s officer David Brereton said no medical cause of death has been offered, pending the results of toxicology and other tests.

A Met Police spokesman said: “It is absolutely vital that the facts of what took place are thoroughly established as quickly as possible through an independent examination of all the available evidence.

“The thoughts of the MPS are with the family of Mr Charles at this incredibly difficult time for them.

“All police officers are fully aware that they will be asked to account for their actions. No officer is above the law and they would not wish to be.

“The MPS continues to provide every possible support to the police officer and their colleagues while fully co-operating with the IPCC investigation.”

He added that the force would review whether any restrictions should be placed on the officer.

Mr Charles’s family have previously expressed concerns over the “openness and transparency” of the IPCC investigation into his death.

A full inquest is expected to be held in front of a jury next June.


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