A police officer resigned before he could face a disciplinary hearing over a black man’s death. Edson Da Costa, 25, died after he was restrained by four plain-clothed police officers and had CS gas sprayed into his face following a traffic stop.
Two witnesses said the officers sprayed him from about two inches away. An inquest originally found the young father died by misadventure after taking 88 wraps of drugs, but Mr Da Costa’s family are calling for a new inquest.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) later concluded that evidence suggested ‘a reasonable tribunal, properly directed, could find misconduct relating to his (the officer) use of CS spray’. But the officer, who was the only one of four facing proceedings, resigned in October last year before his hearing could take place.
It is unclear whether the officer in question has moved to a different force, the Observer reports. The Metropolitan Police did not tell Mr Da Costa’s family that the officer would no longer be facing a tribunal.
Mr Da Costa’s family was asked whether they were involved with Black Lives Matter Edson Da Costa was a 25-year-old father. The family have also not been told what disciplinary action, if any, was taken against two other officers who were set to face ‘management action’ for failing to call an ambulance quickly enough.
Da Costa’s father Ginario said: ‘This is a joke. Why are they not accepting blame, why have they not apologised to the family?’ Professor Jerry Nolan, who is an intensive care expert, investigated the case and said being sprayed at close range could have been a ‘contributory factor’ to Mr Da Costa’s death. The officer reportedly refused to ‘confirm or deny that he had discharged his spray at close range’ when IOPC investigators questioned him.
They also found the officer had told ambulance workers that Mr Da Costa was conscious and responsive, despite previously saying he had told them he was unconscious.
One of the reasons Mr Da Costa’s family was not happy with parts of the original inquest included jurors asking them whether they were ‘involved in any campaign groups such as Black Lives Matter’.
The Metropolitan Police told Metro.co.uk: ‘The death of anyone after involvement with police is, of course, a matter of deep regret and our thoughts and sympathies remain with Mr Da Costa’s family and friends for their loss. ‘The Metropolitan Police Service fully engaged in the coronial process that examined the circumstances of the death of Edir Da Costa.
‘The Met, along with the family of Mr Da Costa, were represented by legal professionals during these proceedings and any issues that arose were dealt with in court, with the full participation of all those involved, adjudicated by the Coroner.
An appropriate policing plan was put in place during the inquest. ‘We take any death following contact with Met officers extremely seriously and look to learn from them. These reports are investigated, and strict guidelines are adhered to. Any identified learning from such incidents informs the development of training and tactics, and can shape procedure.’