Thousands join his family in protest march through London
18th April 2011: The demand for public investigation into tragic rapper-cum-Dj Smiley Culture’s death is gaining momentum. Thousands of people joined his family in a protest march through London to campaign for a public probe into his death. They also demanded an end to deaths in police custody.
A tribute concert is also being planned. It could feature top performers such as Nas and Damian Marley, Sade and David Bowie.
Held a month after Smiley Culture, alias David Emmanuel, died from a stab wound following a dawn raid by five Met police officers on his house in Warlingham, Surrey, the protestors marched through the streets of Westminster.
They could be seen holding placards, demanding a public inquiry into the matter.
The peaceful protest, which started at Wandsworth Road, south London, ended at Scotland Yard via the Houses of Parliament. It was one of the biggest demonstrations led by black community since the 1981 New Cross.
The demands include placing immediately under suspension the services of any police officer involved in a fatality.
As of now, U.K. watchdog group — the Independent Police Complaints Commission —have initiated an inquiry into the incident. Currently, the investigators are collecting evidence and accounts from the arresting officers.
The police has been claiming he stabbed himself, but the family is disputing the claim.
Describing Smiley as a big brother to him, his nephew Merlin Emmanuel had soon after his death made it clear that the family would soon seek a probe into the incident.
Addressing the gathering, Emmanuel said like many others, he would still have been here, if it was not for the police.
Families, who lost their loved ones in suspicious circumstances also joined the demonstration. “No justice, no peace” slogans filled the air.
The families included those of Riggs, Julian Webster, and Wayne Hamilton. Also included was the family of Kinglsey Burrell of Birmingham. He was detained by West Midlands Police under the Mental Health Act after calling them for help.
Founding member of United Friends and Family (UFF) campaign against deaths in police custody Minkah Adofo said it was heartening to see after years apathy, the community was finally waking up. But wherever there is injustice, you will see people rising up. People have come here because they have had enough.”