Restrained man died after bag of drugs became lodged in airway, inquest told

A man restrained face down by police who sprayed CS gas died after a plastic bag of drugs became lodged in his airway, a court has heard.

Jurors in the inquest of 25-year-old Edir Frederico Da Costa were told on Tuesday they may wish to question whether the actions of the Metropolitan Police officers who arrested him contributed to his death.

Mr Da Costa died six days after the car he was travelling in along with Jussara Gomes and Claude Greenaway was pulled over in Beckton, east London, by five plain-clothed police officers at about 10pm on June 15, 2017.

Coroner Nadia Persaud told Walthamstow Coroner’s Court that police deemed it necessary to restrain Mr Da Costa in the “face down position” shortly after the two men were told to exit the car.

“Handcuffs were applied and CS spray was discharged,” Ms Persaud continued.

“At some stage before being restrained, Mr Da Costa placed a number of wraps containing drugs into his mouth.

“This appears to have become trapped during the course of restraint.”

During the restraint, some wraps fell from his mouth and police noticed Mr Da Costa had become unresponsive, jurors were told.

He was placed in the recovery position and medics were called.

“Paramedics removed a plastic bag containing wraps of drugs from Mr Da Costa’s airway,” the coroner said.

He died in Newham University Hospital on June 21, 2017 after a period in intensive care.

The coroner told the jury they may wish to consider the restraint used, the use of CS spray and the justification of the police stop.

Also among the questions was: “Did any unreasonable action by the MPS officers contribute to his death?”

Before jurors were sworn in, they were asked whether they or close relatives had been employed by police or linked to campaign groups such as Black Lives Matter.

The inquest, scheduled to last four weeks, continues on Wednesday.

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