The death of a man six days after he was restrained by police was a result of “misadventure”, a jury has found.
Edir Frederico Da Costa died after being stopped by officers in east London in 2017, having put 88 wraps containing class A drugs in his mouth.
Jurors in the inquest of the 25-year-old concluded a majority verdict that his death was by misadventure.
Mr Da Costa died from a cardiac arrest after his airway was obstructed by a plastic bag in his throat, they found.
Walthamstow Coroner’s Court heard he had been travelling in a car which was pulled over in Beckton, east London, by five plain-clothes officers on 15 June.
The father of one – who had a number of convictions, including for burglary and theft, and possession of cocaine – was being restrained in the prone position when some 20 to 30 wraps were observed on the ground near his mouth, the jury said.
He became unresponsive, was placed in the recovery position and paramedics removed a plastic bag containing wraps of drugs from his airway.
Mr Da Costa died in Newham University Hospital on 21 June after a period in intensive care.
Jurors said the delay of the ambulance service – which had initially been given the wrong address by police – had not contributed to the outcome.
Commander Dave Masker, from the Met Police, said “the officers who dealt with Mr Da Costa that day acted correctly in very difficult circumstances”.
The force said the Independent Office for Police Conduct had recommended four officers receive management action – one for a comment made at the scene and three involving the calling of an ambulance.
The jury had been told by senior coroner Nadia Persaud before beginning their deliberations that there was no legal or factual basis for reaching a conclusion which was critical of the police, in light of all the evidence presented to the inquest.
Following their findings, Mr Da Costa’s father Ginario Da Costa said: “We cannot help but wonder whether Edir would still be here had the police identified the risk of Edir choking earlier and taken steps to help him.
“Edir did not deserve to die in the way that he did and we will forever feel that if things had been done differently his life may have been saved.”
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