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Trade unionists demand justice for Sheku Bayoh

DOZENS of trade unionists from across the country converged on Edinburgh today to demand justice for “Scotland’s George Floyd” in an act of solidarity with his family.

Sheku Bayoh died of asphyxiation in Police Scotland custody on May 3 2015, bound hand and foot having been pinned beneath six police officers.

Two years into an inquiry, which forced outgoing chief constable of Police Scotland Iain Livingstone to admit his force was “institutionally racist,” focus turned to race, prompting today’s vigil.

Speaking in front of a “flag of solidarity” formed of a patchwork of trade union flags, Mr Bayoh’s sister Kadi Johnson, told the vigil: “When my brother died in the hands of the police, we put our trust in the institution as we should do.

“One after the other they failed us at every stage of the process.

“Throughout this public inquiry we now know they lied and tried to cover up their dirty games.

“The passion and determination you have all shown today truly inspire hope and belief in the power of coming together in unity.

”Together we will march forward with courage and determination, knowing that justice will prevail.”

Aamer Anwar, human rights activist and solicitor to the Bayoh family, said: “It’s been nine years since Sheku Bayoh died on the streets of Kirkcaldy after being restrained by up to six police officers, with 24 separate injuries, a broken rib, fractures, lacerations, and shackled like a slave when he was put into an ambulance and taken to Kirkcaldy hospital.

“The police painted an image of a dangerous, large, black man with stereotypical characteristics of extraordinary human strength, describing him as the biggest male they had ever seen with bulging eyes, muscles, and false claims that Sheku Bayoh was wielding a machete.

“They described him as a zombie, but this is nothing new when it comes to the description of black men who die in police custody.

“They are dehumanised, they are snared, they are stereotyped, in order to strip them of their rights to life.

“How many black people have to die, how many more grieving families must set up campaigns to simply get to the truth?

“Sheku’s sister Kadi has described him as ‘Scotland’s George Floyd’.

“He has a stubborn family, three sisters, a mother, and a partner Colette who have refused to be patronised, bullied, lied to, or silenced, because they are not asking for anything special — just the truth.

“Because without truth, there can be no justice.”

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