Young Protestors Hit The Streets After Another Young Man Dies In Police Custody.
“Who killed Edson? The Police killed Edson!” was the chant as over 200 friends and supporters took the streets of Stratford to protest the death of 25 year old Edson Da Costa in Police custody.
According to family members, the father of two was left lying in hospital on life support after suffering a range of horrific injuries including a broken neck, collapsed lungs, a ruptured bladder, a fallen diaphragm and blindness after being sprayed with CS gas whilst being arrested in June 15thbefore dying six days later.
Angered by an official statement from the Independent Police Complaints Commission which claims a preliminary post-mortem found he suffered “no injuries to suggest severe force was used” – streams of predominately young men & women took the streets calling for justice and answers.
The march which began outside of Forest Gate Police station soon moved onto Stratford station which was soon evacuated as protesters blocked the streets while a squadron of police officers kept close watch. During the march organisers were informed by Senior Police officials that none of the officers involved in Mr Da Costa’s arrest have been suspended as yet, which sparked further anger.
Simeone Bury, a friend of Mr Da Costa was among those outraged.
“We know they’re going to try and sweep it under the carpet – how can these men still be on duty after what happened?”
“It’s so easy to become desensitised to these kind of things when you see it online but when it happens to someone you know – you realise it can happen to anyone,” she said.
Another close friend of Edson’s who does not wish to be named explained that she was at his bedside when he died and says she is in no doubt of the severity of the injuries he suffered.
“They think we’re stupid, talking about he just became unwell in the car,” she says.
“There were witnesses, he was screaming that he couldn’t breathe and they applied more pressure.”
“We know what happened and we want justice!”
Deaths in custody has long been an underrated crisis in the UK. Since 1990 over 1600 people have died in custody, many in highly suspicious circumstances. However no police officer has been successfully prosecuted despite several independent inquests concluding that the victim was killed unlawfully.
As the justice for Edson campaign builds momentum, campaigners are determined to ensure that this trend is broken.
Community activist Jay Kast who helped to facilitate the protest says young people in particular have decided enough is enough.
“Community Police relations are at minus 100, we said after Mark Duggan that was it – we would not stand for another Black man being killed in this way and here we are again.”
“If justice isn’t served, we’ll be back out here – we don’t want to hear talk we want justice.”