Blog post on the recurring trend in reporting around black deaths in custody or after police contact. Six years on from Mark Duggan’s death.
First published in the Huffington Post UK on 6 August 2017:
It turns out that Rashan Charles, a 20 year-old black man, who died after police contact, did not swallow an illicit substance, even though the police said he did.
For many this seems to vindicate their suspicions that the police overstepped their mark when they restrained him, an encounter that was viewed widely on CCTV footage. But in some ways the damage has already been done. The public already have a narrative formed around Charles’ death. That police were apprehending a miscreant – a drug dealer. Someone relegated to the underclass. And protests in reaction were called riots – violence perpetuated by angry thugs. Riots some papers suggested were reminiscent of those that took place after the death of Mark Duggan.
There is much that is reminiscent in Charles’s case of what happened around Duggan’s death on 4 August 2011. But so-called rioting isn’t it.