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Edson Da Costa: Family press for end of chokeholds by police

PUBLISHED: 18:28 14 August 2017

Edson Da Costa died on June 21. Picture: Twitter

Edson Da Costa died on June 21. Picture: Twitter

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Edson Da Costa’s family have called for the “immediate end” of chokeholds and similar methods used by police when detaining suspects.

Relatives of the 25-year-old East Ham man, who died six days after a police stop in Beckton on June 15, are also pressing for an urgent review into the use of CS gas and a full public enquiry into “the disproportionate number of black and ethnic minority deaths in police custody”.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which is investigating the death of Edson, has confirmed CS gas was used by police officers during the police stop, as well as force.

Custom House Cllr Rokhsana Fiaz, who is supporting the family with its Justice 4 Edson Da Costa campaign, said: “My interest as a councillor is two-fold.

“One, I have had a long-standing track record of issues to do with the criminal justice system and ethnicity matters across a number of areas.

“Secondly, the sad tragic incident took place in my ward. I have reached out to the family and have said to Ginario Da Costa [Edson’s dad] that I will do whatever I can in a practical sense.”

The family want an immediate suspension of police officers involved in the circumstances leading up to Edson’s death and for any individuals involved in “criminal or negligent action” to face prosecution.

As part of the campaign, they are also requesting a review of the IPCC itself and for better practice from the media when covering such cases.

A spokesman for the IPCC said the investigation into Edson’s death was making good progress and footage from various sources, “including police body worn video and mobile footage from independent witnesses” had been identified.

He added: “Our investigators are continuing to identify further potential witnesses and will secure any relevant footage wherever possible.

“We await the results from a number of evidential items that have been sent for forensic testing, which is under way.”

He said that of the 14 deaths in police custody that took place in 2016/17, three were of people from a black and minoriy ethnic (BAME) background.

He added that any decision to suspend officers would have to be made by the Metropolitan Police.

A Met Police spokeswoman said no comment could be made while the IPCC investigation was ongoing.

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