New evidence, fresh questions about death of young Black Londoner Rashan Charles

The day after Rashan’s death, we published a Shine A Light article challenging the official story that Rashan was “taken ill” after “trying to swallow an object” and…

The day after Rashan’s death, we published a Shine A Light article challenging the official story that Rashan was “taken ill” after “trying to swallow an object” and that the police officer “intervened and sought to prevent the man from harming himself”. We have continued to investigate, attending every day of the inquest into Rashan’s death, and publishing a series of investigative reports on this troubling case.

We have gained exclusive access to footage recorded by multiple CCTV cameras at the scene. Having analysed the footage, it is our belief that interactions between police officers and the “member of the public” raise fresh doubts about police assertions that the two men who restrained Rashan had never met before the fatal incident, and that the second man had no connection with the police.

In parallel today we are publishing an expert analysis of the CCTV footage by Rod Charles who is a retired Metropolitan Police Chief Inspector and Rashan’s great uncle, and a 20 minute documentary film.

Here is our interpretation of what we see.

In the early hours of Saturday 22 July 2017 (soon after 01:40, by the CCTV clock) a uniformed officer from the Metropolitan Police Service’s elite Territorial Support Group pursues Rashan into the Yours Locally convenience store and grabs him from behind. According to evidence heard at the inquest, the officer gave no verbal warning.

BX47 grabs Rashan from behind at 01.40.17 on 22 July 2017 | CCTV stills by Shine A Light

Seconds later the uniformed officer, whom we must call BX47, throws Rashan to the floor, landing heavily on top of him.

Cz40.29c_Blueshirt_observes_BX47_THROW_Rashan_right_hand_FORCE_censored.jpgBX47 throws Rashan to the floor at 01.40.29 on 22 July 2017 | CCTV stills by Shine A Light

A second man, whom the police describe as a “member of the public”, walks into the store. We are not allowed to identify him. We must call him Witness 1. Without hesitation, Witness 1 climbs on top of Rashan and pins him to the floor.

Dz41.25b_Blueshirt_observes_BX47__Rashan_WIT1_climbs_on_censored.jpgWitness 1 joins the restraint at 01.41.25 on 22 July 2017 | CCTV stills by Shine A Light

Rashan is limp and unresponsive, face down on the floor, when the two men, working together, handcuff him. We can see that Rashan’s right hand is limp as Witness 1 passes it to BX47 at 01:41 and 44 seconds. It’s barely a minute and a half since BX47 chased Rashan into the store.

D2_HANDCUFFS CLOSEUP.pngClose-up: Witness 1 assists BX47 in handcuffing Rashan at 01.41.42 | CCTV stills by Shine A Light

Rashan is subjected to further prolonged and heavy restraint, ceasing only after a police medic, whom we must call BX48, arrives on the scene (just before 01:44, by the CCTV clock). She assesses Rashan and orders the handcuffs taken off.

The police officers allow Witness 1, who, according to the official narrative is a complete stranger to them, to spend the best part of a minute palpating Rashan’s chest and tummy. They permit him to attempt mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Rashan.

Ez01.47.36witness1palpates_censored.jpgWitness 1 palpates Rashan’s chest at 01.47.36 on 22 July 2017 | CCTV stills by Shine A Light

London Ambulance Service paramedics arrive at the scene around 01:50 by the CCTV clock. Witness 1 withdraws and disappears from view, reappearing 9 seconds later in an adjacent aisle where he speaks to another witness.

Meanwhile, BX47 watches the paramedics at work. Witness 1 beckons him over. BX47 immediately approaches, stepping over Rashan’s feet to join Witness 1 in the aisle.

Fz02.06.12WItness1beckons_censored.jpgWitness 1 beckons to BX47 at 02.06.12 on 22 July 2017 | CCTV stills by Shine A Light
Gz02.06.16BX47steps_over_Rashanfeet_censored-2.jpgBX47 joins Witness 1 in the aisle at 02.06.16 on 22 July 2017 | CCTV stills by Shine A Light

The pair greet each other with a one-armed embrace. Witness 1 offers BX47 a bottle of water. The officer declines. Witness 1 shows BX47 a card from his wallet. The officer writes in his notebook, then returns it to his pocket.

The two men clasp hands. In our opinion the video evidence suggests a warm, intimate encounter. The time by the CCTV clock is 02:10. Twenty-eight minutes have passed since we saw Rashan limp and unresponsive.

Hz02.06.17BX47Witness1_one-arm_hug_censored-2.jpgBX47 and Witness 1, a one-armed embrace at 02.06.17 on 22 July 2017 | CCTV stills by Shine A Light
Iz02.10.18hanclaspCAMERA5CROPz_censored.jpgBX47 and Witness 1 clasp hands at 02.10.18 on 22 July 2017 | CCTV stills by Shine A Light

Paramedics retrieve a package from Rashan’s airway. (Later it is found to contain caffeine and paracetamol.) A police officer places the object in an evidence bag.

That officer approaches Witness 1 in the aisle. Witness 1’s facial expression—which we are obliged to obscure, due to the anonymity ruling—seems to us to suggest recognition, perhaps even familiarity. The officer shows the bag to Witness 1 and they talk.

Jz02.19.47at12.03.05xxsmileflatcap__censored-3.jpgBX47 greets another officer with a smile at 02.19.47 on 22 July 2017 | CCTV stills by Shine A Light
Kz02.19.54_evidencebag__censored.jpgOfficer shows evidence bags to Witness 1 at 02.19.54 on 22 July 2017 | CCTV stills by Shine A Light

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