A knife, which relatives of Sheku Bayoh claimed never existed, was found near the scene where the father-of-two died, it has emerged.
According to unconfirmed reports, the blade was recovered by police about 10 yards from the site of his arrest in Hayfield Road, after members of the public called to report a man carrying a knife.
Mr Bayoh died in custody after being restrained by numerous officers.
A female officer was also injured in the incident, which took place around 7am on Sunday, May 3.
Aamer Anwar, lawyer, said: “The family has repeatedly stated that, when police attended, Sheku was not carrying a knife, nor was one ever found on him, nor did he ever brandish one at the police, as was originally claimed by them.”
“The family want to know whether the force, which included CS spray, pepper spray, batons and six police officers, was legitimate, proportionate and reasonable.”
Mr Anwar would not comment on whether Mr Bayoh had been in possession of a knife at any point that morning, or had brandished it at someone other than a police officer.
He said: “This is a live investigation and the family will await the outcome of the report rather than comment on sources who hide behind the police shield of anonymity.”
An interim report on the investigation by the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (Pirc) is now being considered by Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland.
The Bayoh family were due to meet him yesterday (Wednesday).
Earlier this week, a ‘source’ was quoted nationally, saying: “The report takes a much more balanced view and there’s a lot which Mr Anwar simply hasn’t mentioned.
“It’s fair to say no-one emerges from it without a blemish – in a case of this kind, that’s unlikely – but the Pirc report shows there was a lot more to the situation than is claimed.”
The family believe Sheku died from ‘positional asphyxiation’ while being restrained but an official cause of death remains undetermined.
Ade Johnson, Sheku’s brother-in-law, said the Justice for Sheku campaign was looking to raise £14,000 in one month to hire a pathologist and forensic detective.
The official Facebook page also states funds – currently £2500 – will be used to meet legal costs. A march is scheduled to take place in Kirkcaldy on September 6.
A Pirc spokesman said: “The commissioner is pursuing further expert evidence and is working closely with the Crown Office in this regard.
“While enquiries continue, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
Partner’s car tyres slashed
Collette Bell, Sheku’s partner, discovered the tyres on her car had been slashed on Monday morning.
Ms Bell (27) said: “It’s hard not to think I’ve been targeted. Where I live is in a dead end and there were five other cars parked all round mine, but not one was touched. Someone must have deliberately come into the cul-de-sac with the intention of slashing my tyres.”