by New Worker
AROUND 1,000 relatives, friends and supporters gathered in south London last Saturday to march to Scotland Yard to demand justice following the unexplained death of rapper and DJ Smiley Culture during a police raid on his home last month.
They marched from Wandsworth Road, near his home in Stockwell, behind a float pumping reggae music in a peaceful and colourful procession to protest at yet another name being added to the list of 400 who have died in police custody in unexplained circumstances over the last decade.
Police raided Smiley’s flat in the early hours of 15th March and while they were there he died of a single stab wound to the heart.
The police officers say he went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea while they searched other rooms and that he stabbed himself to death.
Family, friends and campaigners are sceptical and have referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
As one of the chants on the march pointed out: “Four hundred dead – nothing said”.
Family campaigns such as those for Sean Rigg, who died in custody at Brixton police station in 2008, were also on the march, and the names of Ian Tomlinson, who died after being punched by police on the G20 demonstration in 2009, and Jean Charles de Menezes, shot by police at Stockwell tube station in 2005, cropped up again and again.
No police officer has ever been convicted for any of these deaths.
The march was led by family members including Smiley’s nephew Merlin Emmanuel and activist and lawyer Lee Jasper. Both spoke at a rally outside Scotland Yard at the end of the march.
The demand continues to be: “Who killed Smiley Culture? And when will the Met be brought to account for the deaths of Londoners in police custody?"