Demonstrators clash with police over black man's death after traffic stop

Updated: 

Protesters have clashed with police during a march demanding justice for a black man who died after a traffic stop.

Edir Frederico Da Costa, 25, died on June 21, six days after he was stopped in a car by Metropolitan Police officers in Newham, east London.

Campaigners claim Mr Da Costa's neck was broken and he was "brutally beaten" after the car, containing three people, was stopped in Woodcocks, Beckton.

But the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which is investigating, said a preliminary post-mortem on Thursday indicated there were no spinal injuries caused by police.

Protesters, some carrying Black Lives Matter posters and others with homemade placards which read "Justice for Edson + How Many More???", marched from Forest Gate to Stratford.

Borough Commander Superintendent Ian Larnder tried to calm tensions as he answered questions, telling the crowd: "I am here because l care deeply about what is going on."

A flurry of angry comments such as "you are protecting them" were hurled at Mr Larnder as members of the crowd pressed him about alleged police brutality.

"Police officers are all accountable to the law, they are being investigated," he said.

When one of the campaigners asked if the officers involved in the incident were still working, he said: "I am pretty sure they have not been suspended but removed from operational duties."

Protesters faced off against a line of uniformed officers at Stratford bus station, forcing some buses to be diverted, before marching back to Forest Gate police station shouting "we want justice" and "justice for Edson" to the beat of a drum.

The crowd arrived at the station at around 8.15pm where they were greeted by a cordon of uniformed officers at the entrance.

The atmosphere calmed as a minute's silence was held at 8.40pm with the crowd holding clenched fists in the air. 

But tempers flared again as the skies darkened and riot police wearing helmets and carrying shields pressed forward in a line from the police station at around 9.35pm.

Bricks were ripped from a wall and thrown at officers while firefighters, protected by police, hosed out a fire which had been set in a bin in Richmond Road.

Bins were also set alight near a McDonald's in Romford Road, and a cordon of police, some with dogs, pressed demonstrators further down the street.

Family campaigners insisted the event had been set up as a peaceful march and they did not condone the violence.

A Met spokeswoman said: "An appropriate policing plan is in place."