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Who was Edson Da Costa?

Edson Da Costa (also known as Edir) was a loving father, son, cousin and trusted friend. He had a good heart and a captivating, vibrant personality. He was a young man of 25 with his whole future ahead of him. He also had a young son who thought the world of him. 


Edson was a loving father and partner. He had a one-year old son and was expecting a second child due in January 2018. He was very close to his family who describe him as generous, loving and resilient. He loved to eat sweets, to dance with friends and family, and had a passion for fixing things. Edson volunteered with “Street League”, a sports coaching company that helps to coach children aged 8 – 11 years in football. He was awarded a Sports Leadership Award for his work with them.


What happened?

On 15th June 2017 at around 10pm, Edson and two friends were pulled over in their car by five plain-clothed police officers on Tollgate Road in Beckton, London. The police report states that at some point, either prior or during the stop and search, Edson attempted to swallow a number of bags. Edson was restrained by four police officers during the stop and search. He was held in the ‘prone’ position face down, handcuffed with his arms behind his back, and was hit by two ‘distraction blows’ (in other words, punched and palmed), two applications of the ‘mandibular angle’ pressure point pain compliance technique and CS spray used at close proximity to Edir’s face, despite police guidance suggesting that generally a one metre limit is appropriate. Edson became unconscious and died six days later in hospital on 21st June 2017.

What was the legal implication?

The inquest for Edson Da Costa's death took place almost two years after his death on 7 May - 6 June 2019. The jury returned the conclusion at the inquest into his death, making a majority ruling of 9:2 that Edson died by ‘misadventure’. The Jury also noted the following: “Mr Da Costa died from the consequences of cardio respiratory arrest after his upper airway was obstructed by a plastic bag containing drugs he had placed in his mouth.”


During the inquest it was discovered that one of the officers involved provided false information about Da Costa’s condition to the ambulance service and failed to provide the correct address. The Inquest acknowledged that the ambulance service had initially been given the wrong address by police but said that the delay had not contributed to the outcome. 


The IOPC concluded that the use of force in restraining Edson was “necessary and proportionate,” but that one officer may have committed misconduct over his use of CS spray. All the officers involved in his death refused to be interviewed by the IOPC as part of their investigation. Four of the officers involved returned to work with no further disciplinary action beyond “management action” and the officer who deployed CS spray may have faced an internal misconduct hearing, although it is unclear whether this actually proceeded.


Da Costa’s mother, Manuela Araujo, fell ill following his death and died suddenly in Portugal in August 2017. Her family attributed the 45-year-old’s passing to shock over her son’s death.

Further information.

If you want to find out more about  other victims of police and state violence in the UK, click here.

The proportion of BAME deaths in custody where restraint is a feature is over two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody. The proportion of BAME deaths in custody where use of force is a feature is over two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody. The proportion of BAME deaths in custody where mental health-related issues are a feature is nearly two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody.

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