The object removed from Rashan Charles’ throat after he was apprehended by police was “a mixture of paracetamol and caffeine wrapped in plastic”, a police watchdog has confirmed.
Charles died on July 22 after being tackled by police in a Dalston convienience store. Police said he became ill after trying to swallow a small package and the object was removed from his throat at the scene.
Cindy Butts, Commissioner of the Independent Police Complaints Commission who is leading the investigation into the young father’s death, said: “Yesterday, we received analysis of the contents of a package that paramedics removed from Rashan’s airway after he was detained and restrained by a police officer and member of the public. Following a very constructive meeting with Rashan’s family, we stated that the package did not contain controlled substances.
“We did not provide further details, because the contents of the package are not directly relevant to our investigation – we are looking into the circumstances of Rashan’s death, not investigating Rashan.
However, given the inflammatory nature of some ongoing speculation I will confirm that the package consisted of a mixture of paracetamol and caffeine wrapped in plastic. At this stage we have not been provided with a confirmed cause of death for Rashan and our investigation is ongoing.”
Butts added her investigation will “consider every shred of available evidence” and appealed for the public to remain calm.
After it was confirmed earlier this week that the 20-year-old had not swallowed an illegal substance, Hackney MP Diane Abbott said the finding would cause “deep concern and upset”
The IPCC said a cause of death had not yet been confirmed.
“The IPCC’s update, coupled with the release of a Metropolitan Police report highlighting a disproportionate use of force against BME (black and minority ethnic) people, will no doubt cause deep concern and upset.
“Urgent work must be done to rebuild trust and links between the police and the community,” Abbott said.
Figures released on Tuesday revealed Metropolitan Police officers use “force” once every 10 minutes and there were 12,605 incidents of force reported between April and June of this year.
Charles’ family said the findings “must not detract” from investigating the conduct of the police in the incident before his death.
His death sparked protests in Hackney this week with demonstrators throwing bottles and fireworks at officers. Many protestors were from racial activist groups like Black Lives Matter and Stand Up to Racism.
In a statement the family said they “expect the IPCC to conduct an investigation to the highest possible standards, and to provide the answers we urgently seek”.
“We have raised concerns with the IPCC about openness and transparency, which is regrettable at this early stage,” the family added.