Sheku Bayoh family meet chief constable 'for answers'

Sheku Bayoh's relatives arrive with their lawyer Aamer Anwar and and Deborah Coles, director of Inquest

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Sheku Bayoh’s family arrive with their lawyer Aamer Anwar at the Crown Office in Edinburgh to hear if police officers will be prosecuted over his death in 2015

The family of a Fife man who died in police custody will meet Police Scotland’s chief constable to ask for answers.

Sheku Bayoh died in May 2015 while being restrained by officers responding to a call in Kirkcaldy.

Mr Bayoh’s mother Aminata Bayoh and sister Kadi Johnson will meet Iain Livingstone on Monday.

It is one month since The Crown Office said no police officers would face criminal charges.

The Bayoh family’s lawyer Aamer Anwar said the invitation from the chief constable was unexpected, but welcome.

After four years, the family were hoping for answers.

He said: “The family understands that to a certain extent Police Scotland’s hands were tied during the criminal investigation.

“Now that it is concluded, they are hoping to have reassurances and answers and some action on any misconduct.

“They are hoping for a positive meeting.”

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Sheku Bayoh died in 2015 after being restrained by police in Kirkcaldy

In November, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf announced a public inquiry into Mr Bayoh’s death.

The inquiry will examine the circumstances leading up to and following his death and try to establish the role his race may have played in it.

Mr Bayoh, a trainee gas engineer originally from Sierra Leone, died after being restrained by up to six uniformed officers in a street near his home in the Fife town on 3 May 2015.

Police had received reports of a man behaving erratically and brandishing a knife in the street.

His family’s lawyer said he was not carrying a weapon when he was stopped, although the BBC understands a knife was later found nearby.

The 31-year-old, who had taken the drugs MDMA and Flakka, was found to have suffered 23 separate injuries.

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Media captionThe BBC Disclosure programme featured previously unseen footage

The incident was sent to the Police Investigations Review Commissioner which provided its report to the Lord Advocate 16 months after Mr Bayoh’s death.

The family waited more than two years to discover whether prosecutors would bring charges against police officers as a result.

In November, the Crown Office said there would be no criminal charges against any police officers and the public inquiry was ordered.

At the time a spokesman said it had been “a complex investigation”, and acknowledged it had been a “difficult time” for Mr Bayoh’s family and all those involved.

“The crown has conducted this investigation with professionalism, integrity and respect,” he added.

Civil action

The family are already suing Police Scotland in a civil action on the grounds that Mr Bayoh’s death could have been avoided.

They said CCTV and phone footage cast doubt on claims made by officers about events leading up to his death.

They have described the decision not to prosecute the officers as a “betrayal of justice”.

The Crown Office said the decision not to prosecute had been taken after a “thorough review” of all the available evidence.

The officers involved have always denied any wrongdoing.

Police Scotland have been approached for a comment.

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