A Pan African Human Rights Organisation challenging the misrepresentation of African people, culture and history in the British media.
Fri 18 March 2011
We Remember... Smiley Culture
Reggae artist, Smiley Culture passes away from a fatal stabbing whilst in police custody. Officers say it happened as he was “making a cup of tea”.
David Emmanuel, 48 also known as the reggae artist, Smiley Culture passed away in his home after sustaining a stab wound. It is believed the incident occurred whilst he was in the custody of officers from the Metropolitan Police force.
The fatal stabbing which took place on Tuesday 15 March in David’s house in Warlingham, Surrey is now being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). This news brought little comfort to friends and family seeking an explanation for what is suspected to be a police assault on an unarmed man after initial rumours circulated that David had somehow committed suicide whilst handcuffed. The government’s IPCC body is infamous for its long established reputation of exonerating corrupt police officers in murder cases involving African people.
A press conference was held on Thursday 17 March at the Karibu Education Centre, Brixton where members of David’s family and the community called for a public inquiry to help ascertain the truth and secure justice.
They claimed not to have been offered any detailed explanation of how he apparently stabbed himself to death after officers allowed him to go into his kitchen to go and ‘make a cup of tea’.
His relatives are now demanding an independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding his death.
At the Press conference David’s nephew, Merlin Emmanuel said ‘We haven’t had a clear, coherent, official explanation as to what happened to Smiley... The police have a lot to answer to.
Until our questions, queries and suspicions have been fully and competently answered to dispel any notion of foul play, we will not rest.’
The official release from Scotland Yard is; “[O]fficers from the Metropolitan police service's serious and organised crime command attended a residential address in east Surrey to carry out an arrest warrant... While they were at the address, an incident occurred during which a 48-year-old man died.”
A postmortem examination confirms death was caused by a single stab wound through his heart.
The Guardian newspaper has reported that David’s family have said that;
“ the postmortem has strengthened their resolve to uncover the truth behind the ‘most bizarre of circumstances’. They say they will employ an independent pathologist to verify the cause of death.”
No confidence in Police Complaints Commission
The IPCC has continued to lose its legitimacy in the eyes of the African community after a series of high profile cases. In the IPCC’s infamous investigation into one of the most harrowing examples of police brutality and state enabled unaccountability, the IPCC ruled that no police officers should face disciplinary proceedings for the death of Roger Sylvester in 1999.
This was not a one off and also occurred in 2006 after its investigation into the death of Christopher Alder, a 37 year old father of two and ex-paratrooper, whose choking to death in police custody amidst racist taunts was caught on video in 1998. Despite this hard evidence, the Independent Police Complaints Commission ensured that Sgt John Dunn and Pc’s Matthew Bar, Nigel Dawson, Neil Blakey, and Mark Ellington were all exonerated.
The IPCC also failed the family of Frank Ogboru who passed away, 26 September 2007, again, despite his assault by a gang of police officers being captured on video. A similar thing happened in January 2008, when the IPCC rejected a complaint made by Toni Comer who was famously captured on CCTV being battered by a male police officer outside a nightclub in Sheffield in July 2006.
In 2008 The Police Action Lawyers Group (PALG), a nationwide coalition of lawyers representing members of the public who have lodged complaints against the police, resigned from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) expressing “increasing dismay and disillusionment” at “the consistently poor quality of decision making at all levels of the IPCC”.
There have been no reports of the availability of video evidence available in the case of David Emmanuel.
Do you believe that Smiley stabbed himself in the heart whilst making a cup of tea? Do you trust the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to uncover the truth and bring those responsible for Smiley’s death to justice?
We haven’t had a clear, coherent, official explanation as to what happened to Smiley... The police have a lot to answer to.
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