source: The Guardian
published: 16 November 2019
It’s been four and a half years since Sheku Bayoh died in Scottish police custody and now, for the first time, his family is allowing itself to hope they will get some answers.
“My brother was a much-loved father and family man and a well-liked member of his community,” said Kadijatu Johnson, Bayoh’s sister. “He didn’t deserve to die like this, and we as a family deserved better than to be treated in the way that we have been.”
Last week, after Scotland’s lord advocate confirmed that no charges would be brought against any of the nine police officers the family believe were involved, the Scottish government announced a rare, judge-led public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Bayoh’s death. A 31-year-old trainee gas engineer and father-of-two with no previous history of violence, Bayoh had arrived in Scotland from Sierra Leone as a young teenager and had moved to Kirkcaldy in Fife to live with his sister. On 3 May, 2015, he died after being restrained by police officers in his hometown.
The government’s move has made Scottish legal history; this will be the first public inquiry into events surrounding an individual, rather than several people.
“Our family are hoping for many things from this public inquiry, but the most important is to recover his reputation after the disgusting and wicked things that have been said about him after his violent death,” said Johnson.