Sheku Bayoh, 31, died after being restrained by police in Scotland in 2015, in what the Bayohs family has described as a racially motivated use of force. Police Scotland, according to Bayoh's sister Kadi Johnson, is currently investigating whether or not race was a factor in his death.
Sheku Bayoh, a 31-year-old father of two from Kirkcaldy, Scotland, fled to the United Kingdom as an unaccompanied minor in 1995 in order to escape the civil conflict. When he was 17 years old, he moved to Kirkcaldy, on the east coast of Scotland, to live with his sister Kadi Johnson, who had settled there in the early 1990s.
Bayoh was a trainee fitter for Scottish Gas at a different level of experience, according to BBC News. Bayoh was also a youth leader in a local racial awareness group, and had given presentations to police officers about the challenges faced by the minority ethnic youth of Kirkcaldy.
What Happened To Sheku Bayoh?
According to the Addiction Center, Bayoh was at the house of a close friend on the morning of May 3, 2015, when they noticed him as different, they expressed his confusion and stated that they couldnt reach him.
Bayoh was later escorted home by a different friend, whom he then threatened. When Bayoh returned home, he removed a knife from his kitchen and went back outside. Neighbours reported a man he thought was narcissistic with a knife.
Bayoh was asleep when police arrived, and he had dropped the knife and was thrown from the scene. Within 45 seconds, officers removed him to the ground, according to witnesses. Up to six police officers were seen kneeling and lying across Bayoh, while he was heard shouting get off me.
On his arrival to Victoria Hospital, Bayoh was declared dead with 23 separate injuries, including a cracked rib, head wounds related to baton strikes, and burst blood vessels in the eyes, which may be a sign of positional asphyxia, or suffocation. However, Bayohs official cause of death was described as sudden death in a man intoxicated [with drugs] while under restraint.
Investigations and Review Commissioners (PIRC) by the police
Kadi Johnson recalls not being able to get a clear answer from police when she first heard of her brothers' death. Then, she told BBC Scotlands Disclosure Programme that they were looking for two men. Eventually, after talking with their manager, they informed me there had been a forceful arrest, and he died on the way to hospital.
The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) conducted a review of the circumstances surrounding the killing of Hugh Bayohs 16 months after. Two years later, Lord Advocate James Wolfe ruled that Police Scotland would not face criminal charges.
According to Eric Baskind of Liverpool John Moores University, a leading authority on police restraint and force, the Bayohs family requested a review.
Yet Lord Advocate Wolfe defended his decision not to prosecute the officers implicated. Johnson said in his response to the verdict, we have tried desperately to maintain trust in the present Lord Advocate and his team. Today's decision feels like police protection.
What's the deal with Sheku Bayohs now?
In November 2019, an independent public inquiry was launched to investigate whether race played a role in his death. We want this inquiry to be meaningful to us as a family and Scottish society, according to Bayohs' sister. I want my brother's name to be remembered as something good, not in the same way it has been damaged over the years.
The investigation is ongoing, and the officers involved have defended their use of force. Alan Paton, a retired police officer who was first on the scene, said their decision was 100% correct and that race was not a factor. Doctors and a member of the public also disputed this during the investigation.
If my brother had broken the law, he should be dealt with accordingly. If excessive force was used, then that is unacceptable, Johnson said. Like George Floyd, Johnson said the authorities here wanted to blame everything for him. He was not himself, but we believe that if Sheku had been treated differently, he would have still be alive today.