CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Rashan Charles swallowed ‘paracetamol and caffeine tablets not drugs’

Email claims that 20-year-old had swallowed the freely-available medicines

03 August, 2017 — By William McLennan

A YOUNG man who died after falling ill during a police chase had swallowed an object containing paracetamol and caffeine tablets, police have told members of the public in Camden.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission, who are investigating the death of 20-year-old Rashan Charles, said yesterday that an object removed from his airways did not contain a controlled substance.

Exactly what the object did contain has not been made public until now.

An email, sent by police in Camden to members of the community entitled “Rashan Charles tensions”, stated: “Following the IPCC announcement yesterday that Mr Rashan Charles swallowed paracetamol and caffeine tablets as opposed to controlled drugs, the MPS are obviously keen that public tensions do not rise whilst the IPCC investigation is continuing, and if they do that we are made aware of them.

“There is nothing to suggest that tensions on Camden & Islington are, or will, rise. However, as with all incidents that carry such emotive feeling and public interest, it is important for us to remain alert and maintain lawful order so that Londoners feel safe and can go about their lives in peace.”

Officers had chased Mr Charles on foot after attempting to stop a car on Kingsland Road on July 22. CCTV showed him enter a shop and appearing to swallow something as he apprehend by an officer, who threw him to the floor.

He fell ill and was taken hospital where he later died.

Shortly after the New Journal asked the IPCC to confirm the contents of the email, the watchdog released a statement from Cindy Butts, the commissioner overseeing the investigation.

She said: “Since the tragic death of Rashan Charles in the early hours of Saturday morning, there has been much public speculation and anger. The IPCC is independently scrutinising all the evidence, in order to provide answers for Rashan’s family, friends and the wider public – but we don’t work in a bubble. We are well aware of the discussion that’s going on around the case and the need to do our part to help people have confidence in our investigation.

“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.

“Rashan’s family have appealed for calm, while we undertake our important work. I would echo their appeal and reassure the public that our investigation will consider every shred of available evidence.”

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