Sheku Bayoh: who was he, what happened to him and how did he die in police custody as public inquiry launched

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A public inquiry into the death of Sheku Bayoh, who died in police custody in 2015 in Scotland, has started

The sister of Sheku Bayoh has told how she no longer feels safe in Scotland after her brother died in police custody.

Kadi Johnson spoke briefly at the start of an public inquiry into the death of her brother seven years ago.

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The public inquiry, chaired by Lord Bracadale, is set to examine the circumstances leading up to the incident in May 2015, and the following management process and investigation into the death of the trainee gas engineer.

It will also look to establish the role the father-of-two’s race may have played in his death.

The public inquiry, which is being held at Capital House, Edinburgh, began with a minute’s silence, with Lord Bracadale saying: “The focus of today is on Sheku Bayoh himself and what he meant to those he left behind.”

Sheku Bayoh.Sheku Bayoh.
Sheku Bayoh.

What happened to Sheku Bayoh?

Sheku Bayoh died in May 2015 after he was restrained by officers responding to a call in Kirkcaldy, Fife.

His family have said he is “Scotland’s George Floyd”.

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The family’s lawyer Aamer Anwar said in a statement ahead of the inquiry starting: “In less than 50 seconds of the first police officers arriving, Sheku Bayoh was brought to the ground, he was handcuffed and restrained with leg and ankle cuffs, and would never get up again, losing consciousness and dying.”

Mr Anwar said Mr Bayoh’s body had “over 24 separate injuries, cuts, lacerations, bruises and a broken rib.”

No charges have been brought because of his death, but Mr Anwar said the family felt if the police officers involved had nothing to hide they had “nothing to fear from coming and giving a full and frank testimony to the inquiry”.

What has his family said?

Kadi Johnson told the hearing in Edinburgh: “I don’t feel safe anymore here in Scotland. I feel nervous and worried for my children, I fear for the safety of my nieces and nephews. Why should I have to feel this way?”

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Mr Bayoh’s three sisters: Kadijato Johnson, Adama Jalloh and Kosna Bayoh attended the inquiry on Tuesday.

His mother, Aminata Bayoh, was also present after travelling to Scotland from Sierra Leone.

The room was packed 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.

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“I miss him so much, we will carry on to make sure his legacy lives on.”

Ms Jalloh, before breaking down into tears, said: “Shek was a fun, loving, cheeky boy. There was no doubt he was a mummy’s boy.”

Ms Johnson then took over and read the rest of her sister’s statement which added: “And a thing that was unquestionable was that he loved his family.

“Nothing mattered to Shek when he was with his two sons. They were his world. And there was never a dull moment when Shek was around.”

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Sheku’s mother Aminata Bayoh (right) is greeted by supporters outside Capital House in Edinburgh at the start of a public inquiry into the death of Sheku Bayoh..Sheku’s mother Aminata Bayoh (right) is greeted by supporters outside Capital House in Edinburgh at the start of a public inquiry into the death of Sheku Bayoh..
Sheku’s mother Aminata Bayoh (right) is greeted by supporters outside Capital House in Edinburgh at the start of a public inquiry into the death of Sheku Bayoh.. | PA

Where there campaigners at the hearing?

Protesters from across Scotland gathered outside the hearing and chanted “black lives matter”.

Mr Bayoh’s sisters and his mother walked into Capital House in Edinburgh, where the inquiry is being held, as the crowd chanted “black lives matter” and “justice for Sheku”.

Some were holding pictures of the gas engineer, while others were holding banners urging people to stand up to racism and calling for justice.

Was anyone from Police Scotland at the inquiry?

Iain Livingstone, the chief constable of Police Scotland, walked past gathered protesters to enter the centre.

He said the inquiry will allow the facts to be established, and added it must now be allowed to get on with its work.

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