Sheku Bayoh: Family react with anger to Kenny MacAskill “hunting Police Scotland” remarks


Bayoh family say they will not be “bullied, silenced or patronised”

THE FAMILY of Sheku Bayoh, a 31-year-old man who died in police custody, have reacted with anger to comments made by former justice secretary Kenny MacAskill, who has said that the investigation into Bayoh’s death is part of a vendetta against Police Scotland.

The dispute comes after a BBC investigation which claimed that one of the nine officers who arrested Bayoh, Constable Alan Paton, had boasted to his brother-in-law of his racist beliefs.

Writing for a police magazine, Police Professional, MacAskill said: “An assumption of institutional racism and homicide are alluded to without awaiting the outcome of complex and highly thorough investigations into a specific incident.

“The fact that the police are involved seems to change the ground rules for many that would apply in another suspicious death or for another organisation. That appears to be happening as the open season of hunting Police Scotland continues and individual officers are targeted,” he added.

Bayoh died in police custody on 3 May after he was arrested by nine police officers in Kircaldy. During the arrest, Bayoh was restrained with handcuffs and leg braces, and police used used batons, pava spray and CS spray on him. Bayoh’s death is currently being investigated by the IPCC.

Speaking through their Lawyer Aamer Anwar, the Bayoh family said: “The Bayoh family are distraught at yet again another attempt to divert attention from why Sheku Bayoh died on the 3rd May. The family also note there is absolutely no response to the allegations contained within the BBC report of allegations of violence and racism, exposed by a police officer’s own family members last Wednesday.

“Sheku’s family have stated since day one that his behaviour was out of character and that if he broke the law then the police had a right to act. However any action had to be proportionate and legitimate and he never deserved to die. He was not a terrorist, nor did he brandish a knife at police officers, nor was one ever found on him.

“As for the Bayoh family they will not be bullied, silenced or patronised but find it astonishing that even before the Lord Advocate has concluded his investigation that the Police Federation, their lawyer and a former justice secretary appear to be concluding what will happen legally.”

Picture courtesy of Sheku Bayoh family