The funeral of Sheku Bayoh – whose death in police custody has sparked a major ongoing investigation – is due to take place in Kirkcaldy on Sunday.
In what the family claims will be a quiet “symbolic” gesture, the hearse will stop outside Kirkcaldy police station for five minutes before it makes its way to King’s Mosque.
A member of the family told the Press: “It’s a quiet, peaceful march; it’s not a demonstration.
“We are going there because it’s symbolic – they were the last people who were in contact with Sheku when he died.”
The father-of-two – who hailed from Sierra Leone – died on Hayfield Road after being arrested by police on the morning of May 3, following claims he had been seen with a knife.
Police state a “petite” female officer, who tried to apprehend the burly 31-year-old, had sustained “significant injuries” in the process.
Back-up officers subsequently arrested the former British Gas employee, allegedly using CS spray, batons and restraint techniques.
Sheku’s family, who claim they were given at least five different accounts by police of what happened that day, are demanding answers.
At an earlier press conference, Collette, mother of Sheku’s four-month-old son Isaac, said: “I need to know why, as my partner lay dying a few streets away, the police were busy lying to me in my house, then at the police station.
“I want to know the whole truth of the circumstances surrounding his death so that one day I can explain to my son Isaac Bayoh why he has had to grow up without his daddy.”
The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner is heading an ongoing independent investigation into the circumstances which led to Sheku’s death.
An online petition demanding justice for Sheku has gathered hundreds of signatures and the family expect a large crowd at his funeral.
In a statement, they said: “We plan to gather where he died, outside Gallaghers pub on Hayfield Road at 12 noon, for a two-minute silence.
“Flowers may also be laid.
“We will then proceed alongside Sheku’s hearse to the police station, where we will stop for five minutes before proceeding to Kirkcaldy King’s Mosque, St Mary’s Terrace.”
Funeral and prayers for Sheku will be held outside Kirkcaldy King’s Mosque at 2.00 p.m., followed by a reception at Templehall Community Centre.
“We would really appreciate it if all of Sheku’s friends, family and supporters could join us in our march from Hayfield Road, to stand together and show unity.
“We would like to represent Sheku as the fun, larger than life character as he was known and loved to be by wearing his favourite colour, bright light blue.”
It is understood there will be a police presence at the funeral.
Lawyer’s views ‘inaccurate and bizarre’, stress police
The lawyer representing Sheku Bayoh’s family has been accused of spreading “inaccurate and bizarre” rhetoric towards the Scottish Police Federation.
The claim, by Brian Docherty, chairman of the federation, comes as police prepare to give statements nearly five weeks after the death of Sheku Bayoh in police custody.
Mr Docherty said: “Aamer Anwar can try to throw whatever mud he wishes but the fact remains that a petite female police officer was violently assaulted by a large male and believed she was going to die as a consequence.
“In directing increasingly hyperbolic, inaccurate and bizarre rhetoric at the Scottish Police Federation, one could be mistaken for believing that Mr Anwar being at the centre of attention appears to be of greater importance than allowing the investigation to proceed without interference.”
Mr Anwar has criticised police for failing to provide accounts of their actions to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC).
However, on Tuesday, Professor Peter Watson of PBW Law said: “The comments made by those representing the family of the deceased continue to promote a completely inaccurate and misleading account.
“The officer injured remains off work, has had several hospital visits, and is now in rehabilitation.
“An examination by a leading consultant confirms her injuries were significant.”
The injuries have been documented and photographed.
Professor Watson continued: “The officers involved have never refused to provide statements.
“It was agreed at the outset with PIRC that they would revert to us when they wanted statements and when they were clear on the basis that statements were to be given.
“PIRC emailed me this morning at 10.46 a.m. asking for our assistance to organise interviews and we answered at 11.29 a.m., confirming we would be pleased to assist.
“Those are the facts.”