Socialist Worker

Police Scotland may face criminal charges over Sheku Bayoh killing

by Carlo Morelli
Issue No. 2477

Police Scotland may face criminal charges over the killing of Sheku Bayoh in May.

This would be a landmark case, if it were brought, and an important step for the family’s justice campaign.

But it’s suggested that it would be an alternative, not in addition to, criminal charges against the individual cops responsible.

Sheku died of suspected asphyxia while in police custody after up to nine police officers restrained him.

These possible criminal charges and recent revelations about one of the officers involved are important steps for the justice campaign.  

PC Alan Paton was accused last week by his sister and brother-in-law to have a history of violence and racism.

Paton was one of the first officers on the scene.  


Despite the knowledge of his history Paton was allowed to remain in the police force and was not even suspended from duty after Sheku’s death.

Further revelations have emerged that police officers tried to have Sheku’s body returned to Sierra Leone two days after his death.

The Scottish National Party’s former justice minister, Kenny MacAskill, attacked the “constant carping” and “poisonous atmosphere” towards Police Scotland around the case.

It was seen as an attack on Sheku’s family, who have publicly challenged the police investigation.

But the family are right to continue to publicly fight for justice – and they are gaining more support by doing so.

Around 65 people attended a public meeting in Edinburgh last week, called by the EIS teaching union and heard the truth from the family first-hand. 

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