RACE awareness campaigners have called for an independent inquiry into the death of a man in police custody in Fife.


One close friend of Sheku Bayoh said the tragedy after police were called to his home in Kirkcaldy had been a "shocking" incident.

The 32-year-old died after being arrested by police following an incident at the property but police have refuse to discuss the circumstances surrounding his death as an independent investigation is under way.

The karate enthusiast who was known as "Sheik" to friends had been detained by police in the town's Hayfield Road in the early hours of Sunday morning. He died in custody shortly afterwards.

A female police officer had to be taken to hospital after being injured in the incident.

Mr Bayoh's partner gave birth to the couple's baby boy in January.

Local rights group, Fairness, Race Awareness and Equality Fife (FRAE), said an independent inquiry is needed as "the full facts have to be found".

Representatives are to give support for a sister and other relative in Kirkcaldy over the death of Mr Bayoh who has strong family links with Sierra Leone and had lived in the UK for nearly ten years.

Adnan Miyasar, chairman of FRAE Fife said: "It is very sad news.

"Our condolences go to the family, which has been known to FRAE Fife for many years.

"We want to see what kind of support we can give them, maybe counselling or some kind of comfort. I don't know whether they are taking any action, but anyway we cannot intervene, it is up to them to take any action they want to take.

"There are conflicting stories from what happened. One said there was a knife then there wasn't a knife. From a responsibility point of view we want to see what an independent inquiry to say, as this happened in a police station.

"We have a good relationship with the police and we know personally the Chief Superintendent Gary McEwen and we are are sure he will go into it. We trust they will take the proper action.

"FRAE has for many years worked closely with the police to address many issues and concerns that is important to the ethnic minority community. We acknowledge the hard work and strategic thinking of the Chief Superintendent in moving the equalities agenda in Fife.

"The loss of a young person is a difficult one, not just for his family but for the whole issue of equality in Fife and this is why we are asking for an independent inquiry. But regardless of the inquiry, the truth has to be found.

"We wish the policewoman who was involved in the incident a quick recovery and full fitness.

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) is now investigating the incident.

Family and friends expressed their shock and paid tributes.

His sister Kosna from London changed her Facebook profile picture to a photo of her younger brother.

When a friend Mbalu Jalloh from Sierra Leone asked "why they took him away from us", she replied: "God knows poor pekin gone so soon."

Hkay Fallesen, a closer family friend said: "Have always looked at ur face and remember your dad. Now I have to look at ur pics with a shocking death. Rip Sheku Bayoh. Sleep peacefully dear."

Habi Turay of Sierra Leone said: "Rip my loving cousin."

Annie Baby-Ann Mezo said: "Awwww may ur soul Rest In Peace Brov...Take Heart my Sista Kosna Bayoh...to lose a loved one is not easy..Only who feels it knows it...SoO sorry to hear about ur loss...Xx."

A spokeswoman for the PIRC said: "I am able to confirm the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service has directed the PIRC to carry out an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of 31-year-old Sheku Ahmed Tejan Bayoh in Kirkcaldy on Sunday May 3 who had been detained by police shortly before his death.

"A report on the PIRC's findings will be submitted to the COPFS in due course. As this is a live investigation it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

Fife divisional commander chief superintendent Garry McEwan said: "This is a tragic set of circumstances and my condolences go to the man's family.

"The investigation of deaths in Scotland is the responsibility of Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, who have instructed the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner to lead on this inquiry."