Socialist Worker

Sheku Bayoh Campaign conference calls for justice against cops

by Carlo Morelli
Issue No. 2464

Members of Sheku Bayoh’s family and their lawyer Aamer Anwar

Members of Sheku Bayoh’s family and their lawyer Aamer Anwar (Pic: Duncan Brown)


More than 150 people attended the launch conference for the Justice for Sheku Bayoh Campaign in Glasgow last Saturday. 

Eleven people have died in police custody in Scotland since the single Police Scotland force was formed just two years ago. 

Sheku, a 31 year old father of two, died after encountering at least nine police officers in Kirkcaldy, Fife, on 3 May. 

Within 40 seconds of the police stopping him near his home Sheku was on the ground being restrained. 

Sheku’s family are still demanding answers to the most basic questions surrounding his death. 

They are demanding a public enquiry into Police Scotland’s handling of the incident. 

Family members say that police told them several conflicting stories about his arrest and how he died. 

They believe that officers withheld evidence from both the family and the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC).

They say statements made after his death sought to discredit Sheku’s character.

The conference heard from other campaigns of people who died in police custody, including Sean Rigg’s sister Marcia and Christopher Alder’s sister Janet. 

Police behaviour in the new case follows a pattern in the earlier cases.

Mike Arnott, from the Scottish TUC general council, and Margaret Woods, from the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees, also spoke.

Sheku’s case will become a key test of the Scottish National Party (SNP) government’s commitment to equality and justice. 

So far the SNP has not taken into account that the PIRC’s investigation was undermined as police officers were allowed to collude in their stories. 

Government statements that a fatal accident enquiry will take place ignore the fact that this will have no enforcement powers. 


New inquiry into custody deaths

Home secretary Theresa May has launched a new inquiry into deaths and serious injury in police custody. 

This inquiry comes a week after Sergeant Paul White, the officer charged with perjury over the death of Sean Rigg in police custody, was finally suspended from duty.


Duggan death anniversary vigil

Vigil to mark the fourth anniversary of Mark Duggan’s killing, Tue 4 August, 4.30pm to 8pm, Broadwater Farm, London N17. Called by Justice For Mark Duggan campaign.


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