Sheku Bayoh’s family: Racism has denied us justice

Kadi Johnson. Picture: John Devlin.
Kadi Johnson. Picture: John Devlin.
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The sister of a man who died in police custody four years ago today has said racism has denied her family justice for her brother’s death.

The sister of a man who died in police custody four years ago today has said racism has denied her family justice for her brother’s death.

Sheku Bayoh, a 31-year-old father-of-two, died in Kirkcaldy in 2015 after being restrained by police officers using batons and incapacitant spray while responding to a call about a man with a knife.

Last month following a ruling by the Court of Session, two of the officers involved in the case, Nicole Short and Alan Paton, were allowed to retire on health grounds.

A lawyer for Mr Bayoh’s family has said a criminal complaint will be lodged with the Chief Constable of Police Scotland calling for an investigation into “evidence presented at the Court of Session to consider whether a crime of perjury has been committed”.

Kadijatu Johnson said she believed racism had played a part in her brother’s death and what had happened since.

She said: “Today is the fourth anniversary of my brother’s death. We are tired of waiting, tired of not being allowed to disclose what happened to our younger brother, whilst others engaged in a campaign of lies, smears and cover-ups.

“I cannot believe that after four years, the Lord Advocate still cannot decide whether to prosecute or not. A long time ago we lost all faith in the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc), but we still had hope that the Lord Advocate would give our family justice. We no longer believe that to be true.”

She added: “We know racism has played a big part in our brother’s death and has played a role in denying us justice. We are asking the justice minister to do the right thing for us and the community – launch a public inquiry.”

Lawyer Aamer Anwar added: The family have lost all confidence in the criminal justice system in Scotland and are tired of the delays, excuses and deceit. The Lord Advocate’s office stands accused by Sheku’s family of failing in its duty to uphold justice. The dead cannot cry out for justice, but Sheku’s loved ones will for him.”

A spokesman for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said: “This has been a complex investigation and COPFS appreciates that it has been a difficult time for all those involved.

“The Crown is committed to ensuring that the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of Mr Bayoh are fully aired in an appropriate legal forum.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said:“A wider inquiry remains an option, but it is a decision that we can take only once the process around any criminal proceedings has been fully exhausted.”