A METROPOLITAN POLICE officer who arrested a young man who died 70 minutes later should be suspended, a police watchdog recommended yesterday.
Rashan Charles, 20, died on July 22 having after being “restrained” by Met officers when he ran into a shop in Dalston in east London.
Social media has carried CCTV images of Mr Charles on the floor of the shop with a uniformed police officer seemingly on top of him.
The officer involved is under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for alleged “gross misconduct.”
Now the IPCC has “made a representation” that he be suspended by police.
The death prompted protests by the local community, and a night in which protests turned into a riot. The officer is still carrying out unrestricted duties.
But a campaign group said that “making a representation” is not enough and that any officer involved in actions against an individual who then dies should be automatically suspended and prevented from talking to colleagues.
Following the IPCC’s “representation” that he be suspended, Zita Holbourne of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts said: “I agree he should be suspended, but rather than just a ‘representation,’ this should be something that happens automatically and is enforceable, not just a suggestion, following any death after restraint by the police.
“It should happen immediately, as not doing so allows the officer to speak with other officers who were there, to join up their accounts of what happened and potentially cover up the truth.
“That officer should be suspended and cut off from colleagues until the investigation and any subsequent procedures and inquests are concluded.
“How can we have any faith in the justice system when officers who have restrained someone who then dies are allowed to carry on working? It is only in the police forces that this is allowed — one law for us and another for them.”
Mr Charles’s family have expressed concerns over the “openness and transparency” of the IPCC investigation into his death.
No medical cause of Mr Charles’s death has been established, despite two postmortem examinations.
A full inquest is expected to be held in front of a jury in June.