PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE SHEKU BAYOH FAMILY BY THEIR LAWYER AAMER ANWAR 6th of May 2022
SHEKU BAYOH DEATH IN POLICE CUSTODY
PUBLIC INQUIRY TO START TUESDAY 10TH MAY 10.00am
Capital House, Festival Square, Edinburgh, EH3 9SU
Speaking on behalf of the family ahead of the Public Inquiry Mr Anwar said:
“The Public Inquiry will finally commence 7 years and 7 days after Sheku Bayoh died in police custody, and 2 years since the former Lord Advocate advised the Bayoh family that not one police officer would face charges for the death of Sheku Bayoh. Sheku’s family believe they were failed by those who have a duty to protect the public and uphold the law.
“There were repeated attempts to criminalise, stereotype and smear Sheku in his death.. When the police arrived, he was walking empty handed, no knife was found upon him, nor was one ever brandished.
“The first officers on the scene subjected Sheku to CS spray, Pava spray and the use of batons. He was face down on the ground in less than 50 seconds, he was restrained by up to seven officers. He was handcuffed and had ankle and legs restraints applied to him. Within minutes he had stopped breathing and then died. His body was covered with over 24 separate lacerations, cuts, bruises, and a broken rib.
“In the immediate aftermath, the nine officers involved in the restraint refused to give statements to the independent investigators of PIRC and were allowed to congregate in a canteen together for some 8 hours, it was 32 days later before statements were provided to the PIRC.
“The Bayoh family have described Sheku as Scotland’s George Floyd, the only difference they believe is that despite seven years of struggle the Bayoh’s have never seen justice and are yet to hear the whole truth. This inquiry owes its existence to the struggle fought by Sheku’s loved ones, and they believe no police officer or institution should be allowed to evade scrutiny. Sheku’s loved ones have waited a very long time to hear the truth and that is the very least they are entitled to.”
Deborah Coles Director of INQUEST who has been working with the family and their lawyers said:
“Those entrusted with the role of policing must be subject to accountability before the law. The disproportionate use of force against black people by police, in the UK and internationally, is well documented.
“Sheku’s family have faced lies, denial, delays and obfuscation since his death. Like too many bereaved families after deaths in custody their struggle for truth, justice and accountability has been unnecessarily long and hard.
“This Inquiry must be a watershed moment for Scotland in examining issues around institutional racism, police restraint practices and the flawed systems for responding to deaths. This is both in the family and public interest and in the hope that future deaths are prevented.”
BACKGROUND NOTES FOR EDITORS
Link to live stream for hearings
Inquiry’s YouTube for previous hearings