Rashan Charles and Edson Da Costa's families address crowds outside Stoke Newington police station after Dalston protest
PUBLISHED: 15:49 29 July 2017 | UPDATED: 19:37 29 July 2017
The family of Rashan Charles today urged supporters of their fight for justice to remain peaceful on the streets following protests that broke out in Dalston last night.
But Stafford Scott, speaking on behalf of Mr Charles’s family, insisted: “We understand your anger. We understand your frustration.”
Two people were injured and one arrested after demonstrators blocked off Kingsland Road yesterday evening before fires were lit and bottles thrown.
They are demanding the suspension of the police officer who was seen on CCTV footage tackling Mr Charles to the ground in the Yours Locally off-licence hours before he died. Police today told the Gazette there were “no grounds to suspend the officers” at present.
“Don’t feel that the family don’t feel the frustration and the anger too,” said Mr Scott.
“[But] burning down your own homes, burning down your neighbourhood, is not going to give you justice.”
He complained that black people’s deaths were not afforded the same treatment on the news as those of white people. “We have our children killed in front of video cameras, in front of our faces, we get no empathy,” he said.
But referring to the CCTV footage of the police officer tackling Mr Charles before a member of the public sits on him, which has been circulating on social media, he added: “For once we’ve got the evidence. For once we’re not reliant on the IPCC or the police to gather the evidence. We’ve got it. It’s on camera. The world has seen it.
“The world will feel it if we don’t get the justice that this young man deserves.”
He said the family had legal support and asked the community to be “dignified when they expect us to be wild. Challenge the stereotypes. Don’t let outside agitators tell you what to do.”
Edson Da Costa’s father Ginario was also there to speak.
His son died on June 21, six days after being detained by police during a traffic stop in Beckton. No cause of death has yet been established for the young father.
Mr Da Costa told the crowd: “First of all, our condolences to Rashan’s family. We know what they are going through because my son has suffered at the hands of the police and also like Rashan he’s no longer with us today.
“The justice for Edson campaign will continue to fight for justice, not only for Edson or Rashan, but for all those young black men who have been killed in police custody through the use of excessive force.”
Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott then addressed the group of demonstrators and journalists, as cries of “no justice, no peace” were heard.
“I’m here to show my support for the familiies and the parents of Edson and Rashan,” she said.
“Because that is the call that every parent dreads. The call that tells you that your young child has died in those sorts of circumstances.
“I have been in contact with the police from the beginning but I thought it important to come here today to publicly show my support as a member of the community, as a mother, and as your member of Parliament.
“I agree with what Stafford has said about the importance of peace on the streets. Violence is not the answer.
“But I am here to assure the parents and assure the community that I will stand by the parents in their search for the truth.
“Most of us will have seen the video and there are questions to be answered. I will not rest until those questions are answered.”