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Jury rules Rashan Charles's death in police custody an accident

His family brand the inquest into his death a ‘farce’

THE INQUEST into the death of Rashan Charles was branded a “farce” today after a jury found his death after being detained by police was an accident.

Mr Charles, 20, died in hospital in the early hours of July 22 last year shortly after he was chased by an officer into a shop in east London, tackled to the ground and restrained.

A “golf ball-sized” package, later found to contain a mixture of caffeine and paracetamol, was removed from his throat by paramedics who attended the scene.

A jury of three women and seven men returned a narrative verdict, finding Mr Charles died of a cardiac arrest and upper airway obstruction by a foreign body during a period of restraint.

Coroner Mary Hassell said the jury found that “Rashan's death was an accident, which occurred by virtue of deliberate human actions on the part of Rashan, the police officer who chased him and a civilian bystander, which unexpectedly and inadvertently led to the death of Rashan.”

The jury found the officer's restraint was a “justified use of force,” but it said he didn't follow Met Police protocol by taking “immediate and appropriate action in the face of a medical emergency” and had not managed the involvement of the civilian bystander.

It found, however, the omissions did not make a difference to Mr Charles's death.

In a statement, the family said they felt the investigation into Mr Charles’ death was a “predetermined process by the [Independent Office for Police Conduct], the Metropolitan Police and the [Crown Prosecution Service].”

They added that “the absence of admission of any responsibility does not stall community relations by weeks or years but sets it back generations. This part of the flawed system is over, our work to receive answers continues.”

Mr Charles's great uncle, retired Met chief inspector Rod Charles, said before the verdict that the inquest had “descended into farce” and criticised the coroner, who had “shackled” the jury by removing all “pejorative” options.

He added: “I have had to listen to implausible evidence at times, and at times, downright lies.”

The CPS took no further action against the officer after considering a common assault charge. Mr Charles's family say they have asked the CPS to review the decision.

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