Police officer resigned year before disciplinary hearing over black man’s death

News

A police officer resigned a year before he faced misconduct proceedings following the death of a black man, it has been reported.

According to witnesses, police officers sprayed CS gas into Edson Da Costa’s face in 2017 before he died.

The 25-year-old father had been restrained by four officers following a traffic stop in east London.

Only one of the officers was due to face a police misconduct hearing over Mr Da Costa’s face.

The officer resigned more than 12 months ago before the hearing took place.

It is unclear whether he moved to another force after handing in his notice.

Mr Da Costa’s father Ginario told the publication: “This is a joke.

“Why are they not accepting blame, why have they not apologised to the family?”

Two other officers were due to face “management action” over the death of Mr Da Costa, for failing to make sure that an ambulance was called quickly enough.

His family do not know what disciplinary action took place and when regarding those officers.

They have raised concerns about whether the inquest into Mr Da Costa’s death is fair.

They say that the coroner asked jurors to reveal if they or any family members had been “involved in any campaign groups such as Black Lives Matter”.

According to intensive-care expert Professor Jerry Nolan spraying CS gas at close range could have been a “contributory factor” in Mr Da Costa’s death, The Guardian reported.

Two witnesses have said that the officer was roughly 6cm away from Mr Da Costa when he sprayed.

Guidance states that it should not be used less than a metre from its target.

When questioned by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) the officer refused to “confirm or deny that he had discharged his spray at close range”.

An inquest found that Da Costa died by misadventure after being restrained face down by police.

He had swallowed 88 wraps of drugs.

The IOPC investigators found that the officer told the ambulance control-room that Mr Da Costa was conscious and responsive.

In a statement he later said he had told ambulance officials he was unconscious.

The IOPC report found the officer “may have failed” to perform his duty to preserve life.

A Met spokesperson said that “a human error meant, unfortunately, that the IOPC were not informed of the outcome.”

They added that the watchdog has now been informed and the family briefed.

Following his death his heartbroken partner Kandy Gaynor said: “I am absolutely devastated over Edson’s death.

“I was with him just before he was killed. A few weeks ago I told him the news that we are expecting a baby.

“He was over the moon and we had spoken about our future together and he told me he loved me and wanted to make me his wife.”

Mr Da Costa’s family have called for a fresh inquest.