Edson Da Costa inquest: Swearing and threats from crowd made it hard to give first aid, claims officer

Edson Da Costa. Picture: submitted

Edson Da Costa. Picture: submitted - Credit: Archant

A senior officer found it hard to give first aid to a young father who died after being detained by police because of threats posed by onlookers, a court heard.

Edir Da Costa, also known as Edson, of Wilton Way, Hackney, was stopped by police on the Woodcocks estate in Beckton on June 15, 2017.

He was pinned to the ground by four officers trying to arrest him but became unresponsive. Wraps of Class A drugs were found in his mouth.

The 25-year-old car trader died in hospital six days later.

At the inquest into his death at Walthamstow Coroner's Court the jury were shown footage of the stop in which the senior officer, referred to as G15, is heard shouting "You need to get back. Get back" to onlookers perceived to be a threat to the situation.

G15 told the court yesterday (Wednesday): "There was no point starting treatment if there's a threat to yourself. You would not be able to administer effective first aid."

John Begs QC, acting for the Met, told the court that some onlookers were shouting and swearing at the officers.

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On some of the onlookers, G15 said: "They were not helping and [were] a threat to me and my colleagues."

The court heard that armed officers arrived at the scene as G15 was checking Edson for signs he was still breathing.

On the senior officer not knowing CS gas was used or restraint techniques applied by his colleagues in one of G15's accounts, Mr Begs said: "At most stages it's fair to say it was traumatic for the officers. It's inevitable officers will see and hear things differently."

The court also heard tensions in Newham were high that summer after a series of shootings and stabbings along with an acid attack in nearby Tollgate Road.

Jurors were then shown officers' body worn camera footage and a clip shot by a witness.

One officer, referred to as G21, can be heard saying "We're trained to deal with it, you're not" and "He's going to be alright".

G15 could be heard saying: "Call the ambulance."

The eyewitness, filming from a nearby property, is heard saying about Edson: "He's swallowed the food (drugs). That's what he's done."

The senior officer said he did not think Edson was choking but believed he had ingested the drugs in a bid to conceal them and needed medical attention as a result.

The 11-strong jury were then played an emergency call made by another officer, G30, who told the handler, 'He's currently breathing'.

But he added he was unsure whether Edson was faking being unconscious.

Asked about the officers' restraint techniques, one of which included giving Edson a dead leg, G15 said: "It indicates they are struggling [to gain control]."

The inquest continues.