Press Release by Aamer Anwar solicitor is response to Peter Watson and Kenny MacAskill's comments. Former Justice Secretery Kenny MacAskill MSP recently wrote in the magazine Police Proessional that he believed the investigation into Sheku's death would reveal "tragic accident and no criminality". He said criticism of police handling of the affair had created a "poisonous atmosphere". Peter Watson, lawyer representing the Police Federation and officers involved in the case, welcomed Kenny MacAskill's comments. He claimed on Monday that Sheku Bayoh had been involved in a brawl before his death.
Statement by Aamer Anwar:
"The Bayoh family are distraught at yet again another attempt to divert attention from why Sheku Bayoh died on the 3rd May. The family also note there is absolutely no response to the allegations contained within the BBC report of allegations of violence and racism, exposed by a police officer's own family members last Wednesday.
Sheku's family have stated since day one that his behaviour was out of character and that if he broke the law then the police had a right to act. However any action had to be proportionate and legitimate and he never deserved to die. He was not a terrorist, nor did he brandish a knife at police officers, nor was one ever found on him.
Peter Watson forgets that Sheku Bayoh's family have seen his dead body, they have seen his multiple horrific injuries, they have seen the CCTV, mobile phone footage, they have seen Sheku brought to the ground within 30seconds of four officers arriving never to get up again alive and his family have seen the Crown's own post-mortem report. Importantly none of this information is in Mr Watson's possession.
Sheku's family find it upsetting that a former Justice Secretary should insult their family without having a full grasp of the facts, after all it was not them who advised nine police officers not to speak to the PIRC for some 32 days.
As for the Bayoh family they will not be bullied, silenced or patronised but find it astonishing that even before the Lord Advocate has concluded his investigation that the Police Federation, their lawyer and a former Justice Secretary appear to be concluding what will happen legally.
Whatever dirt, individuals or organisations may desperately wish to throw at a dead man or his family, does not make Sheku Bayoh's right to life any less worthy in a civilised society. Perhaps the only sensible question asked by Kenny MacAskill is who 'guards the guardians?