Sheku Bayoh: Public inquiry launched into death of ‘Scottish George Floyd’, who died in police custody | british news

An investigation has been launched into the death of a man who died in police custody and was described by his family as “Scotland’s George Floyd”.

Sheku Bayoh, 31, died in May 2015 after being stopped by officers responding to a call in Kirkcaldy, Fife.

His family says race played a role in his death and criticized the subsequent investigation into the officers’ behavior the night of Bayoh’s death.

A public inquiry into the circumstances of Mr Bayoh’s death begins Tuesday in Edinburgh, chaired by Lord Bracadale.

Mr Bayoh’s mother, Aminata Bayoh, prior to the Edinburgh inquiry

Cuts, bruises and a broken rib

Mr Bayoh, who worked for British Gas, fathered the then four-month-old Isaac and Tyler, his three-year-old son by a previous partner.

In a statement released on behalf of Mr Bayoh’s family, lawyer Aamer Anwar said: “The Bayoh family has described Sheku as the Scottish George Floydthe only difference they believe is that, despite seven years of fighting, the Bayohs have never seen justice and have yet to hear the whole truth.”

Mr Anwar said Mr Bayoh “was face down on the ground in less than 50 seconds” and was being held by up to seven officers while handcuffed.

He had ankle and leg braces on him and died soon, he said.

“His body was covered in more than 24 individual cuts, lacerations, bruises and a broken rib,” Anwar added.

It is alleged that Mr Bayoh was left empty-handed at the time of his arrest.

The public inquiry was announced in 2019 after it was confirmed there would be no criminal charges in the case.

Bayoh’s family has accused the police of racism, dishonesty and incompetence.

George Floyd.  Photo: Shutterstock
George Floyd died after being arrested in Minneapolis in 2020. Photo: Shutterstock

‘Black Lives Matter won’t mean anything’

At a press conference, Mr Anwar read out a statement on behalf of the family. He said one of Mr Bayoh’s sisters, Kadi Johnson, “has no doubt that the way Sheku or her family have been treated by the justice system would not have happened if they were white”.

He continued: “Getting down on your knees and Black Lives Matter will mean nothing if Scotland fails to support justice for Sheku.

“We are always told that justice is color blind, but this research should not be blind to the issue of color.”

Arriving at the investigation, Scotland Police Chief Iain Livingstone described today as “an important day” through which “the facts can be established”.

Lord Bracadale has said the first day of hearings in the inquiry will focus on who Mr Bayoh was and what he meant to those left behind.

Protesters outside Capital House in Edinburgh
Protesters outside Capital House in Edinburgh

turning point’

Deborah Coles, director of justice, charity Inquest, who has worked with the family, said the investigation marked a “turning point” in Scotland for investigating issues surrounding institutional racism.

She said: “Those charged with the role of police should be subject to accountability before the law. The disproportionate use of force against black people by the police, in the UK and internationally, is well documented.”

A vigil also begins on Tuesday outside Capital House on Lothian Road, Edinburgh.

Mr Anwar said the public inquiry will begin two years after the former Lord Advocate told the Bayoh family that “no police officer would be charged” for his death.

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In 2020, the death of George Floyd, 46, who died after being arrested by police outside a store in Minneapolis, Minnesota, sparked Black Lives Matter protests around the world and international outcry.

Former police officer Derek Chauvin was 22-and-a-half years in prison after a video showed him holding his knee to Mr Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes while he arrested him.

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