A public inquiry into the death of Sheku Bayoh, who died in police custody in Scotland in 2015, has begun
Sheku Bayoh’s sister has shared how she no longer feels safe in Scotland after her brother died in police custody.
Kadi Johnson spoke briefly at the start of a public inquiry into her brother’s death seven years ago.
The public inquiry, chaired by Lord Bracadale, is set to examine the circumstances leading up to the May 2015 incident, as well as the ensuing management process and inquiry into the death of the budding gas engineer.
Efforts are also being made to find out what role the father of two’s race might have played in his death.
The public inquiry, taking place at Edinburgh’s Capital House, began with a minute’s silence during which Lord Bracadale said: “Today’s focus is on Sheku Bayoh himself and what he meant to those he left behind.”
What happened to Sheku Bayoh?
Sheku Bayoh died in May 2015 after being handcuffed by officers responding to a call in Kirkcaldy, Fife.
The family lawyer, Aamer Anwar, said in a statement before the investigation began: “In less than 50 seconds after the first police officers arrived, Sheku Bayoh was taken to the ground, he was handcuffed and shackled with leg and ankle shackles and would never do it again get up, pass out and die.”
Mr Anwar said Mr Bayoh’s body had “over 24 different injuries, cuts, lacerations, bruises and a broken rib”.
No charges were brought about his death, but Mr Anwar said the family felt that if the police officers involved had nothing to hide they had “nothing to fear to come and give full and frank testimony to the inquest”.
What did his family say?
Kadi Johnson said at the Edinburgh hearing: “I no longer feel safe here in Scotland. I am nervous and worried about my children, I fear for the safety of my nieces and nephews. Why should I have to feel like this?”
Mr Bayoh’s three sisters: Kadijato Johnson, Adama Jalloh and Kosna Bayoh attended the inquest on Tuesday.
His mother, Aminata Bayoh, was also present after traveling to Scotland from Sierra Leone.
The room was crammed with other relatives and friends, as well as members of Police Scotland, including Chief Constable Iain Livingstone.
Ms. Bayoh said: “Seven years since we lost our brother, the pain is still there.
“I miss him so much, we will keep going to make sure his legacy lives on.”
Ms Jalloh said before she burst into tears: “Shek was a funny, loving, cheeky boy. There was no doubt he was a mama’s boy.”
Ms Johnson then took over and read the rest of her sister’s statement, which added: “And one thing that was undeniable was that he loved his family.
“Shek didn’t care when he was with his two sons. You were his world. And there was never a dull moment when Shek was there.”
Where were activists at the hearing?
Protesters from across Scotland gathered ahead of the hearing and chanted “Black Lives Matter”.
Mr Bayoh’s sisters and his mother entered Capital House in Edinburgh, where the inquest is taking place, while the crowd chanted “Black Lives Matter” and “Justice for Sheku”.
Some held up pictures of the gas engineer while others held banners urging people to stand up to racism and demand justice.
Was someone from Police Scotland at the inquiry?
Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone walked past gathered protesters to enter the centre.
He said the investigation will allow the facts to be established, adding that he must now be allowed to continue with his work.