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Orkney Stands Wae Sheku Bayoh #BlackLivesMatter

BLM POSTER small version Black Lives MatterOrcadians will be taking the knee again today, Wednesday 24th of June at 6pm with their doorstep campaign in support of Black Lives Matter.

This week they have asked those participating to have in their thoughts Sheku Bayoh.

The group have a new Facebook page where you can find out more details of their weekly events. They would also like those taking part to take photos of themselves during their doorstep protests and post them to the Facebook page or to their Twitter account. Links:

They also have a poster designed by Orcadian artist Fiona MacInnes and Kelly Marwick which is free to use. Orkney Stands Wae Black Lives Matter Poster

Sheku Bayoh’s Story

Sheku Bayoh was born in Sierra Leone. When he was 17 he came to Scotland, had a family and worked as a trainee gas engineer.

On the 3rd of May 2015 he died when being restrained by 5 police officers.

This was not in the USA but  in the town of Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland.

On the morning of 3 May 2015, police received a call about a man behaving unusually. Sheku was stopped by police and was held face down on the ground within 46 seconds of the arrival of the first two officers. During the restraint, officers used CS spray, batons, leg and ankle restraints and handcuffs. A post-mortem revealed that he sustained facial injuries, bruises to his body and a fracture to his rib. Around an hour and a half after the restraint, he was pronounced dead. Inquest

Sheku Bayoh injuries

On the 3rd of October  2018 The Lord Advocate ruled that there would be no criminal prosecutions brought against any of the officers involved. The decision was also made that Police Scotland will not face corporate manslaughter or health and safety charges.

On the 11th of November 2019 The Lord Advocate, confirmed a decision not to charge Police Scotland or the five officers involved in the death of Sheku Bayoh with criminal, corporate or health and safety offences.

This followed a submission from the Bayoh family to review the original decision of October 2018, and was made despite new evidence arising as part of a BBC Documentary.

Kadi Johnson, the sister of Sheku Bayoh, said:

“Before my brother was met by the very first two officers who handcuffed him he had no injuries. Soon after his body was covered from head to toe in injuries, including gashes and scratches all over his face, a broken rib and haemorrhages in his eyes – which is a sign of asphyxiation.”

No police officer has ever been charged.

This timeline of events following the death of Sheku Bayoh was prepared by Aamer Anwar Solicitors, who represent the family.

On 12th of  November  2019 at 12.00pm the family of Sheku Bayoh met with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf.

On 12th of November 2019 Humza Yousaf, Justice Minister in the Scottish Government announced that there would be a public inquiry “to examine the circumstances leading up to and following the death of Sheku Bayoh”.

Humza Yousaf 2018In his statement to the Scottish Parliament Humza Yousaf informed MSPs:

“Following what has been a complex and thorough investigation and review, the Lord Advocate has confirmed that, on the basis of the evidence available, there will be no criminal proceedings against Police Scotland or individual police officers in connection with Mr Bayoh’s death.”

Announcing the public inquiry he went on to say:

“All deaths in police custody are subject to a mandatory Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) under the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc (Scotland) Act 2016. The responsibility for establishing the FAI sits with the Procurator Fiscal, under the direction of the Lord Advocate. FAIs examine the cause of death and consider steps to prevent other deaths in similar circumstances.

“In this case, the Lord Advocate considers the remit of a FAI would not allow all the issues which require to be investigated to be addressed. FAIs can examine circumstances and factors leading up to a death, but not what follows after, and in this case the Lord Advocate has identified questions, raising issues of public interest and importance about the early stages of the post-incident management of the investigation that an FAI simply could not examine.

“That being the case, it is imperative that the circumstances leading up to Mr Bayoh’s death and the events that followed, including whether race played a part, are examined in full and in public.”

On 24th of January 2020 the Chair of the Public Inquiry was announced. The Right Honourable Lord Bracadale, a retired senator of the College of Justice, and he will lead the independent inquiry.

On May 21st 2020 the remit of the Inquiry was published.

The statutory public inquiry will examine the circumstances leading up to the death of Mr Bayoh, the post incident management process and subsequent investigation into his death. The inquiry will also establish the extent to which Mr Bayoh’s actual or perceived race played a part in events, if any.

A crowdfund has been launched by the family of Sheku Bayoh as they continue to campaign for justice and to get answers to what happened to him.

Link: Justice for Sheku Bayoh

Justice for Sheku Bayoh

A statement on the website says:

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.

BLM POSTER small version Black Lives Matter

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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