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Sister of Sheku Bayoh says Scotland is a racist country

Kadi Johnson, Sheku Bayoh's sister
Kadi Johnson, Sheku Bayoh's sister

The sister of tragic Fife man Sheku Bayoh says she now believes Scotland is a racist country and regrets convincing him to move north from London.

Kadi Johnson said she no longer feels safe in the country she “once loved”, following the 2015 death of her 31-year-old brother while he was restrained by police in Kirkcaldy.

She was speaking to BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show after giving evidence to a public inquiry into Mr Bayoh’s death last week.

Asked if Scotland was a racist country, she replied: “For me I will say yes, I’m afraid I’ll say yes, because the way we have been treated.”

Sheku Bayoh
Sheku Bayoh.

Ms Johnson encouraged her brother to move to Scotland from London because she believed it would be safer, but she said she would not do the same for any other young black men now.

“Scotland was a place I loved and I encouraged him to come up because I thought he would have a better life living here,” she said.

‘This will live with me for the rest of my life’

“But now, because the way I’m feeling, this will live with me for the rest of my life.

“Why did I even encourage him to come up to Scotland, and now he is no more.”

Ms Johnson accused police officers of failing to tell her the truth about her brother’s death.

“Scotland still has a lot of work to do around racism,” she said.

“We who are in it, feel it. We know what we are going through on a daily basis.

“It is different from a white person and we have seen it in our workplaces, our schools.”

Work to address racism in Scotland should begin with the education system, added Ms Johnson.

Sheku Bayoh’s partner Collette Bell (L) and his sister Kadi Johnson with solicitor Aamer Anwar during a press conference in 2018.

The inquiry into Mr Bayoh’s death heard frantic 999 calls to police last week, as experts created a minute-by-minute virtual reconstruction of events.

The inquiry, chaired by Lord Bracadale, aims to examine the circumstances surrounding his death and whether race was a factor.

More than 30,000 pieces of evidence are currently being considered.

Police officers involved in the inquiry had sought official undertakings that what they say during the hearings cannot be used later.

However, they failed in their bid and the Crown has reserved its right to prosecute in all matters related to the case.

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