The STUC fully supports the Justice for Sheku Bayoh Campaign which was launched on 25 July 2015. Sheku was a loving partner and proud father of Isaac, aged four months old and three year old Tyler at the time of Sheku’s death. Sheku moved to the UK from Sierra Leone when he was eleven and joined his sister in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland when he was seventeen.
On Sunday 3rd May 2015 Sheku left his home sometime between 7 and 7.15am and walked an approximate distance of a mile. Police officers responded to several calls from members of the public of a black male acting erratically with a knife.
It is believed that two police vans and five police cars were dispatched and a minimum of nine uniformed police officers attended the scene, several officers confronted Mr Bayoh and a minimum of five officers were involved in his restraint.
Sheku’s family believe that his behaviour was totally out of character, and have always stated that whilst the police had the right to defend themselves, any use of force had to be at all times lawful, reasonable and proportionate.
However, the family have subsequently learned that Sheku was not carrying a weapon at the time the police arrived, he did not use a knife on the police nor was one ever found upon him.
Despite an attempt to smear Sheku in the aftermath of his death through ‘police source leaks’ to the media, he did not attack police officers with a knife. The family are also aware that Sheku did not attack the police first but that he was attacked by them not once, but several times even though he had not acted violently, it was following this that a police officer was injured.
It has been confirmed that CS spray, Pava (pepper) spray and batons were used by uniformed police officers on Sheku as he was restrained and brought to the ground by several officers within forty six seconds of their arrival. Some officers stated they believed they were under a ‘terrorist attack’.
Sheku was also handcuffed and restraints applied to both his knees and ankles, shortly thereafter he lost consciousness and died. His body was covered with lacerations, bruising and a broken rib.
At 7.34am CPR was attempted at the scene, an ambulance was called and he arrived at the nearby Victoria Hospital at 7.45am but despite attempts to resuscitate him he was officially pronounced dead at Victoria hospital at 9.04 am. Reports were also issued shortly after Sheku’s death that a police woman was stabbed but these turned out to be completely false.
Following Sheku’s death over the course of the next six hours, five different versions of events were given to the family by police officers. Initially both Sheku’s partner, Collette and his family were told by the police that it was a member of the public who found his body and that the police were looking for two individuals.
Sheku’s family and the Scottish public deserve to have a robust, impartial and transparent investigation into his death which scrutinised the individual conduct and tactics of police officers present at his detention and restraint and those in command of them when Sheku died.
The STUC responded to the announcment that the nine police officers involved in the death of Sheku Bayoh will not face criminal charges by saying:
"Today’s announcement that the nine police officers involved in the death of Sheku Bayoh will not face criminal charges is a blow to his family who’ve campaigned for justice for over four years. It is no wonder they feel betrayed.
“Last year Sheku’s family led our St Andrews Day March and Rally Against Racism and Fascism. We will march again this 30th November and I have no doubt that the ongoing fight for justice for Sheku will be on everyone’s minds.
“The Scottish Trades Union Congress offers our upmost solidarity to the family of Sheku Bayoh, and echo their demand for a full public inquiry into his death. Only with justice, will peace come for those grieving Sheku."
The STUC has since welcomed the annoucement of a public inquiry into Shehu's death