Thursday, March 31, 2011

A meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority was temporarily disbanded today after more than 30 angry suppoters of reggae star Smiley Culture were thrown out.

Some of the family and friends - including former Ken Livingstone aide Lee Jasper - had heckled the MPA demanding the truth behind his death.

The singer, real name David Emmanuel, apparently stabbed himself after Met police officers arrived at his Surrey home. 

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has been called in to investigate.

The IPCC Commissioner told a public meeting attended by 700 people that there was "more to this than meets the eye".

After their eviction, Merlin Emmanuel, the star's nephew, told The Standard: "We came here today because we want to get to the bottom of what happened to David.

"We're not making any undue allegations. He died in the most peculiar circumstances and what's irrefutable is that the police have a duty of care to a suspect when in their custody.
"They failed to enforce simple procedures and as a consequence my uncle is dead. We want a full public independent inquiry."

Mr Jasper, who quit as one of Mr Livingstone's closest aides after allegations over his conduct, warned that the black community was at "boiling point" over the incident.

"Everybody here needs to know that we're not simply going to wait for the long road of justice to roll on for 15 years. We had to come to fight for justice. It's right back to the 1980s," he said.

However the singer's nephew, the family's official spokesman, added: "We don't want to ethnicise this issue. Smiley was loved by black, white and everybody in between."

At the time Emmanuel, 48, was on bail for conspiracy to supply cocaine and under investigation for a separate plot allegedly involving drug mules bringing cocaine to Britain.

MPA chair Kit Malthouse called off the meeting for around ten minutes until the group was removed from the City Hall chamber.

Mr Malthouse said: "I am saddened that as a result of the deliberate and disruptive actions of a few many of those who wanted to hear today's discussion and sincere condolences missed out.

"It is frustrating to see that one or two divisive characters can ambush and exploit the anguish of friends and family for their own ends.

 I am pressing the IPCC to work swiftly and thoroughly on behalf of those grieving and the Black community as a whole to find the truth in this matter."