Family of Rashan Charles calls for peace after London protests turn violent

LONDON -- The family of a 20-year-old black man who died following a London police chase called for peace on Saturday, one day after street protests over his death turned violent.

Family members held a vigil outside an east London police station for Rashan Charles, who died in a hospital last week after he was pursued and apprehended by an officer in the capital's Hackney area.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the case and said it will consider whether any misconduct or crimes were involved.

"No justice, no peace, doesn't mean violence. It means we will not watch this in silence," family spokesperson Stafford Scott told reporters Saturday.


Demonstrators gather at a protest outside Stoke Newington police station over the death of Rashan Charles, London, Britain July 29, 2017.

Neil Hall/Reuters

"We understand your frustration, we understand your anger, don't feel that the family doesn't feel that frustration and that anger too," Scott continued. "All the family knows is taking it to the streets doesn't give you justice. Burning down your own homes, burning down your neighborhood is not going to give you justice."

Clashes broke out on the streets of east London late Friday as riot police tried to disperse protesters, who hurled bottles and fireworks at officers, barricaded a road with garbage cans and mattresses, and later set the objects on fire. Some held "Black Lives Matter" placards.


Police in east London made arrests after they were attacked with bottles during a protest on Friday, July 28, 2017.


Scotland Yard said the violence overnight was "separate" from a peaceful protest at a police station earlier Friday.

Police said the unrest resulted in damage to "vehicles, a cash machine and a number of windows." An officer was injured and a 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of causing bodily harm.

In a statement, Detective Superintendent Crawley said "anyone who uses this event as an excuse to commit crime, that unlawful and disorderly behavior will be dealt with robustly."

Unverified footage on social media appeared to show at least one police officer attempting to restrain Charles on the floor of a shop.

The Charles family was joined by the family of Edson Da Costa, another black man who recently died after being detained by police. Supporters say Costa was beaten by police, and his June 21 death is also being investigated by the police complaints commission.