Socialist Worker

Deaths in custody: Don’t fall for cops’ story on Smiley

by Patrick Ward
Issue No. 2249

Police are attempting to spin their version of how reggae artist Smiley Culture died during a raid on his home last month.

The Sun newspaper printed claims by an anonymous officer who allegedly witnessed the star’s death. The source claims that Smiley said, “Do you want some? I do,” and then stabbed himself.

Smiley’s nephew, Merlin Emmanuel, said he was “disgusted” by the story and condemned police leaks about his uncle’s death as “damage limitation”.

“I am perplexed by the police’s continual release of information without making a statement themselves,” he told Socialist Worker.

“The Sun has shown its true colours. It wants to impose the interests of the elite.”

Four more people have died in police custody this month.

Anthony Davies from Crewe died after arrest on 7 April. Colin Ranford from Worcester died on 13 April. Kirk Williams from County Durham died on 17 April. And Michael Sweeney from Bow, east London, died on 18 April.

The Campaign for Justice for Smiley Culture has demanded that in future all arrests be filmed. “If people die in these circumstances, we would have the evidence,” said Merlin.

The campaign has organised a political and cultural event for young people in London next week, and is planning a protest for judicial reform.

Youth for Smiley Culture, 6.30pm, Saturday 7 May, ULU, Malet Street, WC1E 7HY

Dorothy “Cherry” Groce, who was paralysed after being shot by police in Brixton in 1985, died on Monday.

Inspector Douglas Lovelock shot Cherry while she was in her bed. This triggered the 1985 Brixton riot.

Lovelock was cleared of all charges and reinstated.

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Article information

Tue 26 Apr 2011, 17:53 BST
Issue No. 2249
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