The police watchdog has completed its report into the death of a father-of-two in police custody. Sheku Bayoh, 31, died after being restrained by officers in Kirkcaldy, Fife, on May 3 last year.
His family has called for a health and safety prosecution against Police Scotland and believe a wider inquiry should be held into deaths in custody.
Kate Frame, the police investigations and review commissioner (PIRC) has now completed her probe into the circumstances of Mr Bayoh’s death. Ms Frame’s work focused on gathering expert evidence from specialist forensic pathologists.
Alton Sterling and Philando Castile are dead, joining a long roll call of black people killed by officials acting in the name of public safety. And so the nation now begins a process so familiar as to have become rote.
Many of us will want desperately to know more about these men’s lives, not merely their deaths. After each of the many executions we have collectively mourned, I have grasped for those kinds of details—some reminder that black lives do actually matter, to somebody.
Alton Sterling seems like he was a nice guy. He clearly had a friend in Abdullah Muflahi, who owned the food mart where he sold CDs and DVDs in the parking lot. Sandra Sterling, the aunt who raised him, says he was gregarious, perhaps self-consciously so.
Pathologists working on the Sheku Bayoh investigation have still not established how he died 13 months ago. He was pronounced dead following an altercation with up to nine officers in a street near his home on May 3, 2015.
Pathologists, including two who worked on the Hillsborough inquiry, have carried out extensive tests since then to try to find what caused his death.
Family members believe Sheku, 31, died from positional asphyxiation caused by the actions of the officers involved. Petechial haemorrhages were present in his eyes, a sign associated with asphyxiation.