Friday, 18 March 2011
NOTES FROM BRO SMILEY's FAMILY's PRESS CONFERENCE AND UPDATE
Lee Jasper chairing. big crowd, nearly all afrikan-caribbean community. Tippa Irie just spoke! lot of people reminiscing about Smiley and reflecting on his contribution, and wondering about how to resist. nothing too conclusive too far, but a positive militancy and resolve to break police brutality...
many people reflecting on the community organising of the 80s and questioning where it's gone. general feeling that racism and police brutality very much alive and still a need for people to come together against them..
Smiley Culture died from single stab wound to heart, postmortem finds
Family of rapper vows to uncover truth after star – real name David Emmanuel – dies 'making tea during police raid'
David Emmanuel, the British rap star Smiley Culture, died from a single stab wound through his heart, according to a postmortem examination.
The 48-year-old singer died during a Metropolitan police raid at his house. His family have been told he stabbed himself while making a cup of tea.
Emmanuel's family say the postmortem has strengthened their resolve to uncover the truth behind the "most bizarre of circumstances". They say they will employ an independent pathologist to verify the cause of death.
"As a family, we are in a state of deep sorrow and anger," said David Emmanuel, the musician's nephew, at a packed public meeting in Brixton, south London. "My uncle was a father, an uncle, a friend and a mentor to many and is a British icon who died under the most peculiar of circumstances.
"This is not a race issue, although there are suspicions that ethnicity has some relevance in this tragic event. This is a time when the whole British public will stand up to let the police and government know that we will no longer allow any citizen to die in the most bizarre of circumstances. Instead, we will seek the truth, doggedly, until that truth has been exposed."
Emmanuel was stabbed shortly before 8.30am on Tuesday, an hour and a half after four Metropolitan police officers arrived at his house in Warlingham, Surrey, with a search warrant.
A relative, who asked to remain unnamed, said she saw Emmanuel shortly after 8am. He seemed calm, she said, but appeared to indicate that he was confused by the raid. She saw him "surrounded by officers" and when she waved to him, he "shrugged his shoulders, as though to tell me he didn't know what was going on".
It was after this that Emmanuel was allowed to go unaccompanied into his kitchen, his family say. "Why, if Smiley was arrested, was he allowed to go near a kettle full of boiling water and drawers full of knives?" asked Lee Jasper, chair of the London race and criminal justice consortium. "It just doesn't make sense."
At about 8.30am an air ambulance was called by police officers. The helicopter arrived but Emmanuel died at the scene.
The case has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is setting up a community reference group to tell local people and the family of the investigation's progress and channel questions or concerns.
"This investigation is examining the basis on which Metropolitan police service officers went to Surrey to carry out the search warrant on Tuesday, how that was planned, how it was communicated with Surrey police and what happened while officers were at the address," said IPCC commissioner Mike Franklin.
"It is also looking at the response of the officers present to examine what was done in terms of first aid. The independent investigation will be studying forensic evidence and all other possible lines of enquiry to try to establish a factual account of exactly what happened," he added.
"Many of the questions that I know Mr Emmanuel's family and friends have are exactly what we will be examining as part of this investigation. I want to reassure people that we will thoroughly scrutinise this incident and will update all those involved as we progress. I will also make the findings of our investigation public at the earliest opportunity. Until then, I would ask that speculation is avoided."
In September last year Emmanuel appeared before magistrates charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine. He was due in court in the coming days.
Another relative, Merlin Emmanuel, said he refused to believe the singer had taken his own life.
"Smiley had a great deal to look forward to," he said. "It is true that he had an impending case but it is also true that the evidence in relation to this case was minimal and he, along with his legal team, were supremely confident of being acquitted this coming week.
"The police have yet to give an official statement as to what happened," he added. "We haven't had a clear, coherent, official explanation as to what happened to Smiley. The police have a lot to answer to. Until our questions, queries and suspicions have been fully and competently answered to dispel any notion of foul play, we will not rest."