A police watchdog has vowed to look into allegations that a Kirkcaldy police officer with a history of violence and racism was one of the first on the scene when Sheku Bayoh died while being detained.
The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) told the Press that all information gathered during the investigation will be submitted to the Lord Advocate for his consideration.
The assurances were given following revelations from family members of PC Alan Paton, who lives in Kirkcaldy, that he previously assaulted his mother and father, although the case never came to court, and that he had told them that he hated black people.
Mr Bayoh (31), a father-of-two died on Hayfield Road, Kirkcaldy on Sunday, May 3, while being arrested and restrained by police officers.
Since then his family have mounted a high profile campaign demanding answers in relation to his death and the conduct of police officers involved, engaging the services of top Scottish human right’s lawyer Aamer Anwar.
Post mortem results revealed he had nearly 30 injuries to his head, chest, arms and legs.
Barry Swan (43), PC Paton’s brother-in-law told the BBC he had violently assaulted his elderly parents in 2005, but they decided not to press charges.
He claimed PC Paton had also admitted to being racist after Mr Bayoh’s death.
Mr Swan said: “He out and out admitted that he was a racist, that he hates them, as he puts it, all the blacks. It’s not right that he’s a police officer.”
Collette Bell, Mr Bayoh’s partner and mother of his eight-month-old son Isaac, is demanding answers from the police.
She said: “They’re supposed to be trained in restraint. They should have the knowledge and ability to deal with those people appropriately without having to beat them to a pulp.
“There are ways and means to restrain somebody without killing them.”
A spokeswoman for the PIRC said: “The commissioner fully empathises with the deceased’s family and has reassured them that she and her team of investigators are objectively exploring all relevant lines of inquiry.
“Any appropriate further action arising from the findings of our investigation, including the consideration of criminal proceedings, will be a matter for the Lord Advocate to decide upon.”