Justice for Sheku Bayoh
Justice for Sheku Bayoh
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#BLACKLIVESMATTER IN THE UK TOO
There are devastating parallels in the deaths of George Floyd and my brother Sheku. The two men were both loving partners, fathers, sons and brothers.
George Floyd, died after a white American police officer, pushed his knee into his neck for almost nine minutes while he was handcuffed and lying face down. My brother died in Scotland in 2015 after he was held face down by up to nine police officers after subjecting him to CS spray, pepper spray, batons, handcuffs and leg restraints.
George Floyd was kneeled upon until he took his last breath. So was Sheku, only more weight and more officers kneeled upon him. George Floyd stated: “I can’t breathe”, so did Sheku.
Sheku lost consciousness within a few minutes and died. His body was covered from top to bottom in bruises and lacerations, he had a fractured rib with petechial hemorrhages in his eyes- a sign of asphyxiation.
But the parallels between George and Sheku end there. Four police officers have been charged in connection with the murder of George Floyd. Yet in 5 years not one officer has been disciplined, let alone charged nor will any ever face trial for Sheku’s death.
My brother came to Scotland when he was 17 to live with me because we thought it would be safer for a young black man to grow up in the small town of Kirkcaldy rather than London. How wrong we were. He died on a Scottish street, 31 years-old, leaving behind his two young sons.
On the 3rd May 2015 around 7.15am police responded to reports of a black man acting erratically, walking down the street and holding a knife. Six police vehicles were dispatched, yet when the Police arrived Sheku was carrying neither a knife nor or any weapon.
The first four officers that arrived used CS spray, pava spray and batons on him, Sheku was brought to the ground in less than 45 seconds of the first officers arriving. He stopped breathing within in minutes never to recover.
All nine officers returned to the Police Station and sat together in a canteen for up to 8 hours whilst failing to give statements to investigators for some 32 days. In the hours that followed many lies were told including that he had attacked a police officer with a knife.
The case of George Floyd has highlighted globally the issue of racial injustice and killings at the hands of the police, but Black Lives Matter also in the UK. Since 1969, in the UK there has not been a single successful prosecution of a police officer for homicide.
A Public Inquiry has been announced which will look at the circumstances leading up to the death of Sheku, as well as the post-incident management and the investigation into his death. It will also examine whether race played a part in what happened. This Inquiry is likely to last up to two years and could conclude as late as eight years after Sheku died in police custody.
Our Legal Case
No family should be forced to set up a campaign in the midst of their grief. Families are denied access to legal aid when a death in custody takes place and we were expected to put our trust in the Crown Office which they betrayed. We need to bring about a legacy in Sheku’s name to ensure no other family should endure what we have in five years.
How much we are raising and why
We need to raise £50,000 to continue the campaign and pay accumulated costs. Initially, we are aiming to secure £10,000 in the first stage.
Please support our nationwide campaign, make a contribution if you can, share this page on social media with the hashtag #ShekuBayoh, follow us on twitter @BayohJustice and a facebook page which will be set up very soon, and spread the word about the injustice that has devastated our family for the last five years and fight to ensure no other family is denied justice.
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