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Rashman: Police watchdog to investigate lethal restraint of young black man in Hackney

Police claim officer “intervened” to “prevent the man from harming himself”. But video shows sustained restraint. (warning: distressing)

Clare Sambrook
23 July 2017


Rashan Jermaine Charles under police restraint, Hackney, Saturday 22 July 2017

UPDATE According to at 11AM Sunday the young man was aged 20 and has been named by his family as Rashan Jermaine Charles.

The Metropolitan police has claimed that a young black man who died in the London borough of Hackney in the early hours of Saturday morning was “taken ill” after “trying to swallow an object” and that a police officer “intervened and sought to prevent the man from harming himself”.

But video circulating on social media appears to tell a different story. [Link removed due to coroner anonymity ruling.]

The video shows the young man, who has been identified as “Rashman”, walking down the aisle of a shop.

A uniformed police officer grabs him from behind and pulls him backwards.

The young, slightly built, black man appears to put up no resistance.

The officer then appears to throw the young man to the floor, chest down, landing heavily on top of him. He then appears to apply a headlock. The young man’s legs can be seen moving.

At 1 minute 12 seconds a second officer, in plain clothes, joins the restraint, appearing to sit astride the young man, pinning his legs down, while the first officer handcuffs him from behind. [See note* below]

At about 1 minute 45 seconds the man appears to stop moving, both officers look into his face, and the uniformed officer shakes him. The restraint continues.

In the closing moments of the video, at around 2 minutes 20 seconds, the uniformed officer stands up. The plain clothes officer appears to continue the restraint. (A longer, 3 minute 52 second, version of the video appeared on Youtube late on Sunday afternoon. Rashman is still under restraint by the end of it.)

A shop worker apparently witnesses the restraint. There is no audio of the incident. The video’s audio track carries sounds of the shop till and people chatting, presumably at the front of the shop.

The video was posted on Twitter by @_coinz at 11.16pm on Saturday 22 July and has been shared using the hashtags #Rashman #justiceforrashman and #JusticeForRash .

Here is the BBC’s Sunday 7.30AM report in full:

The Met Police said the man was followed on foot after officers tried to stop a car in Kingsland Road, Hackney, at 01:45 BST on Saturday.

He was "taken ill" after "trying to swallow an object" and was pronounced dead in hospital a short time later, the force said.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has been informed.

Footage apparently showing the incident has been shared on social media, along with the hashtag #JusticeForRash.

Police said the officer "intervened and sought to prevent the man from harming himself".

A force medic provided first aid at the scene before London Ambulance Service paramedics arrived.

The man, who has not been named, was taken to an east London hospital and pronounced dead at 02:55.

Police said next of kin had been informed and a post-mortem examination and formal identification would be "arranged in due course".

"The Directorate of Professional Standards and the Independent Police Complaints Commission have been informed and have declared the incident independent," a force spokesman added.

People have shared pictures of Rashman on social media.

*NOTE: We have removed the link to the video shared on social media, due to the Coroner's anonymity ruling, and replaced it with a pixellated version published by the Guardian. Timings differ. According to an IPCC update on 25 July 2017: “The officer restrained Mr Charles, with assistance from a member of the public.” See: On the lethal restraint of young black Londoner, Rashan Charles.


Rashman, according to @kasxest on Twitter

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