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Sheku Bayoh’s family views CCTV footage of last moments of his life

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Sheku Bayoh’s relatives have watched the CCTV and phone footage of the last moments of his life, their lawyer has said.

His “heartbroken” family is now calling on Scotland’s top prosecutor to release the CCTV pictures publicly as the probe into his death in police custody continues.

They said Mr Bayoh’s mother “still wants to know what her son’s last words were” as they reiterated their determination “to seek the truth”.

The 31-year-old, a father-of-two, died after being detained by officers called to an incident in Kirkcaldy, Fife, on May 3.

Mr Bayoh’s death is being investigated by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc).

Relatives of the trainee gas engineer, including Mr Bayoh’s partner Collette Bell and his sister Kadijartu Johnson, have been demanding answers over police conduct and Mr Bayoh’s cause of death, and have previously held meetings with the Pirc and Lord Advocate.

The family took their case to the Scottish Parliament today, where Labour MSP Claire Baker had organised a cross-party meeting to allow relatives to talk to politicians about the case.

It followed a meeting at the Lord Advocate’s office, where relatives watched the footage of his final moments, family solicitor Aamer Anwar said.

Speaking outside the Scottish Parliament, Mr Anwar said: “Over the last four months the family have learned a great deal about the background of the police officers and what they did to Sheku Bayoh on the morning of May 3.

“This morning, at the Lord Advocate’s office, a heartbroken Bayoh family watched the last moments of Sheku’s life taken on CCTV and mobile phone.

“Whilst they agreed to viewing the CCTV on the basis of confidentiality, the family would now urge the Lord Advocate to publicly release the CCTV.”

Mr Anwar, speaking 22 weeks on from the death, said the family wanted to “urge politicians of all parties to hear their concerns”.

“The family knows that the Scottish Government has said that they cannot speak due to a live investigation, but they believe silence is not an option if we are to avoid a whitewash,” the lawyer said.

Mr Anwar said the family remains unconvinced the Pirc will deliver a “robust and impartial inquiry”, and they called for parliament to give the Commissioner more powers “to hold Police Scotland to account”.

He said: “The Bayohs have always said that if Sheku broke the law, then the police had a right to act, but any force used had to be legitimate and proportionate.

“He was not a terrorist, he was not brandishing a knife at police officers, he was not carrying a knife when officers attended, nor was he 6ft-plus with superhuman strength. His family state that he did not deserve to die.

“Last month the Pirc made a great number of promises, however the family are yet to be convinced that they will deliver a robust and impartial inquiry.

“The family do not believe that the Pirc have sufficient powers to hold Police Scotland to account and it is time that this Parliament acted on that.

“Sheku’s mother still wants to know what were her son’s last words and his family remain determined to seek the truth, because without truth there can be no justice.”

Mr Bayoh’s partner told the cross-party meeting she never in her “wildestdreams” imagined having to attend “something like this today”.

“The fact of the matter is, if Shek had not come into contact with the police he would still be here. We would be a happy family, full of love and plans for the future,” Ms Bell said.

“This is now our struggle, this should not be anybody’s struggle – policies and procedures need to be looked at.

“Changes need to happen, whether it be a change in the law, additional training or better management of complaints made against the police.”

Speaking through tears, she added: “I just want answers – the truth, justice for my son so when he asks me why he doesn’t have a daddy I can explain as best I can and say we did all we could to hold the officers responsible accountable. Surely that is not much to ask?”

Mr Bayoh’s brother-in-law, two sisters and his two nieces also spoke during the meeting at Holyrood.

A Crown Office spokesman said: “In order to protect the integrity of the investigation we cannot at this stage release the CCTV footage into the public domain.