Father who made plea for calm during riots charged with assault


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The Independent Online

The father of a man who was killed during August's riots, whose dignified plea for calm became one of the most memorable images of the country's response to the unrest, has been charged with assault over an alleged road rage incident.

Tariq Jahan, 47, is accused of breaking a man's jaw and knocking out two of his teeth on 6 July, a month before his son Haroon, 21, died along with the brothers Shahzad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31, when they were struck by a car.

Addressing reporters the day after the killing, Mr Jahan called for calm, saying: "I lost my son. Step forward if you want to lose your sons. Otherwise, calm down and go home."

His work to ease tensions was commended by police and, on Monday, he received a Pride of Britain special recognition award – handed over by the boxer Amir Khan – for the compassion, dignity and calm he showed in the aftermath of his son's death.

He tried in vain to save his son, who was trying to protect his local community from the violence which spread from London to his home town of Birmingham. Haroon Jahan was guarding shops and homes on 10 August when he was hit by a car.

Eight people have now been charged with murder, three of whom appeared in court this week.

Those charged include Ian Beckford, 30, Everton Graham, 29, Joshua Donald, 26, Adam King, 23, and a 17-year-old boy, who have been remanded in custody. Liam Young, 28, from Winson Green, has been charged with perverting the course of justice. Five other men – aged 17, 23, 29, 32 and 33 – have also been arrested and bailed pending further inquiries.

Yesterday, a Crown Prosecution Service spokesman confirmed Mr Jahan had been charged with grievous bodily harm without intent and will appear before magistrates in Birmingham on Monday. Mr Jahan was arrested soon after the incident and bailed pending further police inquiries and charged a week ago.

The announcement came as it was revealed that around 3,000 people have been arrested in connection with the rioting in August. Scotland Yard figures show that at least 2,952 suspects have been arrested, with at least 1,774 charged. Some 317 have been sentenced, and 96 of those received custodial terms.

One of the Metropolitan Police officers leading the inquiry into the riots described the investigation as "a marathon". Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Greany said Operation Withern consisted of "a strong, robust team" looking for anyone involved in the riots and looting.

Dawn raids have been carried out regularly since the riots, during which police were criticised for their apparent inability to maintain control. Evidence teams soon set to work identifying those responsible and making arrests, however, and yesterday's figures indicate the extent to which those efforts have been successful.