Friends of a 20-year-old man who died after being chased and apprehended by police in London have described him as a gentle and caring person who and acted as a “guardian” for younger people in the community.
Rashan Charles, known to friends as Rash, died after being followed and tackled to the ground by a police officer in a Dalston shop in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The Metropolitan Police said he was spotted “trying to swallow an object”. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has launched an investigation into the death.
Friends say Mr Charles was a much-loved member of the community and a good father to his baby daughter, Remiya.
Jada, Remiya’s mother, told The Independent he was a “caring and generous” father who was close to his family and always sought to help people.
“Rash came to look after Remiya a few times a week. He was such a caring and generous dad. He was always buying her things, and he always gave food to the beggars on the street,” the 19-year-old said.
“I saw him the day before he died. He was fine. He came to look after Remiya. I’m just so shocked.”
Khai, a friend and neighbour of Mr Charles who lived on the same road, described him as a “guardian” to younger people in the area.
Speaking outside Yours Locally the day after his friend’s death following his arrest at the 24-hour store, Khai said: “Rash was always making sure everyone was all right. He was a guardian to younger people in the area.
“He was a family man who looked after his brothers and sisters – and loved his baby daughter. I’ve spoken to his sister and she has just been crying. She wasn’t the same age as him but he was like her twin.”
Another neighbour, Jamal Fahim Ali, 19, said: “He was like an older brother to me, like a protector. He’s been there for me since I was a young age.
“I remember the first time I met him. I was seven years old and got lost right here near this shop. He walked me all the way back to my house.
“He was friendly to everyone. Like an older brother to all of us. Everyone had respect for him, and he had respect for us.”
A friend of Mr Charles, Amina Patterson, 18, said he had a “good heart”, saying: “This should never have happened to him. Rash had a very good heart.
“When I found out yesterday I just didn't believe it. No one expected this to happen to Rash.”
Pauline Pearson, dubbed the ‘Hackney Heroine’ after video of her remonstrating with local people during the London riots went viral, said Mr Charles was a “darling” who helped people in need.
She said: “A girl has told me how, when she was 13, Rash took a whole gang of boys off her who were trying to attack her. And its because of him that they stopped.
“He comes and knocks my door in the morning and asks ‘Mama P, I’m going to the shop do you want anything?’ He was a darling.
“The problem is, some people are handed a silver platter in life, and some people are handed a pile of s***. And Rash is one of those who were handed s***. So what happens? He loses.”
An elderly man who lived close to Mr Charles, but who asked not to be named, described the 20-year-old as “nice, gentle and shy”.
He said: “Whenever Rash saw me, he’d say ‘Hello Uncle’. He was such a gently guy. I saw him just the other day. I can’t believe this.”
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