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We Want Justice! Youth Take To UK Streets After Death Of Black Man

By Trevon Muhammad -Contributing Writer- | Last updated: Jul 4, 2017 - 4:15:36 PM

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Protestors in stand off with officers following the death of a young Black man after an encounter with police.

 “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 the 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 while being arrested on June 15 before 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 Black young men and women took the streets calling for justice and answers.

The march began outside the Forest Gate Police station and 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 organizers 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?”

Edir also known as Edson, Frederico DaCosta, died following encounter with UK police.

“It’s so easy to become desensitized to these kinds of things when you see it online but when it happens to someone you know—you realize it can happen to anyone,” she said.

Another close friend of Mr. Da Costa, who did not wish to be named said 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 said.

“There were witnesses, he was screaming that he couldn’t breathe and they applied more pressure.

“We know what happened and we want justice!” she said.

Deaths in custody has long been an underrated crisis in the UK. Since 1990 over 1,600 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, said 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,” he said.