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Inquiry urged into singer's death

Hundreds of protesters have marched through central London to New Scotland Yard to call for a public inquiry into the death of reggae star Smiley Culture.

The singer, whose real name was David Emmanuel, died of a single stab wound through the heart after four Metropolitan Police officers executed a search warrant at his Surrey home on 15 March.

His family has been told he stabbed himself while making a cup of tea despite the presence of officers in his home. Police watchdog the IPCC is investigating the case but Smiley Culture's family said they want a public inquiry and that the police explanation of his death is "bizarre".

A large crowd of protesters - estimated by the Metropolitan Police at around 600 - marched from Wandsworth Road to Parliament Square and then to a rally outside New Scotland Yard.

They chanted "No Justice, No Peace", played reggae music and carried placards reading "No more deaths in police custody" and "Who killed Smiley Culture?". Police said it was a "noisy but peaceful" protest.

Smiley Culture's nephew, Merlin Emmanuel, said the singer's funeral had been held on Friday.

Addressing the crowd outside New Scotland Yard, Mr Emmanuel said: "Yesterday we buried my uncle David Emmanuel, also known as Smiley Culture, before his time. Like many others he would still be here if it were not for the police. Scotland Yard, listen. Although you enforce the law, you are not above it."

Smiley Culture, who was 48 when he died, found fame with a string of 1980s' hits including Cockney Translation, and he appeared on Top of the Pops. Mr Emmanuel ended his speech by playing Smiley Culture's 1984 hit single 'Police Officer'. The autobiographical song tells how he was caught in possession of cannabis but let off when the officer recognised him as a reggae artist.

Mike Franklin, of the IPCC, told Channel 4 News: "People are clearly going to be very concerned about what happened, a terrible incident for friends and family of Smiley Culture. I know what it feels like to be in those situations where communities are angry, suspicious and upset and I've always been of the view that the community should feel free to express their feelings. It doesn't change anything in as far as the investigation is concerned."

In September last year Smiley Culture appeared before magistrates charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine. He had been due to appear in court at a date shortly after the police's visit to his home last month.


From Belfast Telegraph