Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The Mysterious Death of Smiley Culture

RIP Smiley Culture (real name David Emanuel)

The death in police custody of Smiley Culture after the police raided his home this morning leaves the *Metropolitan Police Serious and Organised Crime Squad with a lot of questions to answer as far as I am concerned.
There are reliable witness statements that confirm that Smiley was alive when the police arrived and, after allowing others in the house to leave the property, the police version of events is that Smiley stabbed himself.
Surely Smiley was handcuffed as in normal practice during any raid to prevent the suspect disposing of evidence, harming officers or him. How is it that he managed to stab himself whilst in handcuffs?
Secondly how did he get hold of a knife when surrounded by police officers? He would have been closely monitored and guarded by police officers and an officer would have supervised his every move.
Thirdly how is it, if we accept he did stab himself (and I have severe doubts about that) how is it he is surrounded by officers and yet they could not prevent him from doing so?
Finally once he was injured why could they not apply first aid and call for immediate medical assistance to save his life? What time did they arrive at the property and what time was the ambulance actually called?
This death in police custody of Smiley Culture will raise lots of critical questions and I would be advising both Surrey Police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission that they need to come up with answers and quickly if they are to avoid a serious increase in hostility within police and community relations.

*This is a correction, it was believed earlier that the raid had been carried out by the Surrey Police Force.

News update: Press release (OBV)
The family of UK reggae star Smiley Culture aka David Emanuel who died Tuesday 15th March in suspicious circumstances during a raid on his home by the Metropolitan Police Serious Crime Squad, will be holding a press conference at the Karibu Education Centre 7 Gresham Rd Brixton SW9 7PH, Thursday 17th March at 12 noon .
In attendance and speaking on behalf of the Emmanuel family will be Merlin Emanuel. A long time friend and associate of Smiley’s, Asher Senator will speak along with other members of his immediate family.
Lee Jasper Chair of the London Race and Criminal Justice Consortium will chair the press conference.
For more information contact Lee Jasper on: 07984 181797.


Press Conference: The community turns out to support the family of Smiley Culture-sadness, shock and anger in equal measure. 

I chaired the conference. There was a good turnout and  it was obvious how popular Smiley Culture was with his friends, family, the community and reggae stars and fans. The family told everyone that they want justice and they want it to be achieved in the correct way. 

The press were asked to be respectful when reporting Smiley's death and the subsequent inquiry.   

Merlin Emanuel, Smiley's nephew, was the main spokesperson for the family and he spoke with pride and dignity of the family's sad loss and their wish for justice. He said, "Smiley was a British icon, not a black icon, he was bigger than just us. He was British and he was a worldwide celebrity".

Tippa Irie was clearly shaken at the loss of his good friend and spoke about his grief on hearing the news. 

Smiley's daughter, visibly grief stricken,  bravely thanked everyone for their support and asked that they please continue to support the family at this difficult time. 

There are times when my community leaves me bursting with pride and today was one such day. However we must be on our guard against emotional venting being a substitute for action and solid work. We are on the road to justice and will need all your support.

We will be calling another meeting soon, please sign up to this blog to keep updated.

Video of the Press Conference:   http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/13375130 

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