An investigation has been launched into a former Croydon school pupil who tweeted that white people had “colonised” Dalston following Friday’s protest over the death of Rashan Charles.
Jason Okundaye, who leads the Black and Minority Ethnic Society at Cambridge University, tweeted “ALL white people are racist. White middle class, white working class, white men, white women, white gays, white children they can ALL geddit.”
His comments came as a response to this weekend’s violent protest in Hackney where campaigners demanded justice for 20-year-old Rashan Charles, who died on July 22 after being apprehended by police in a Dalston convenience store.
Around 150 protesters on Friday brought traffic to a standstill in Kingsland road, burning mattresses and throwing bottles at police officers.
Stafford Scott, a spokesperson for the Charles family, said: “We understand your frustration, we understand your anger – don’t feel that the family doesn’t feel the anger and the frustration too. But what the family knows is taking it to the streets doesn’t give you justice.
“Burning down your own homes, burning down your neighbourhood is not going to give you justice.”
He said the family had sought the best legal advice to “fight this properly.
“Support them in their struggle. Be dignified when they expect us to be wild,” Scott added.
Police said Charles was chased by officers and became ill after trying to swallow an object. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating.
Claire Crawley, Hackney Detective Superintendent, said: “I would like to remind anyone who uses these events as an excuse to commit crime, that unlawful and disorderly behaviour will be dealt with robustly. Those who seek to disrupt other’s rights to peacefully protest may face arrest,” Crawley added.
The university has confirmed Okundaye’s remarks about the violent protests in Hackney are under investigation. He defended his comments, saying they had been taken out of context.
Okundaye said: “My tweet about all white people being racist was pulled out of context and separate to my tweets in support of the Dalston protests. The tweet was conflated with my separate tweets which supported the Dalston protests and my support of activism which seeks justice against police brutality.”
A spokesperson for Cambridge University said “the college is looking into this matter and will respond appropriately,” after calls were made for the 20-year-old student to be suspended. Okundaye has since made his Twitter account private.