The sudden death of UK reggae icon Smiley Culture during a police raid by the Metropolitan Police Serious and Organised Crime Squad has sent shockwaves through the UK urban music scene and black communities.
Questions are being raised within Black communities in London over reports that the former singer ‘killed himself’.
There is a growing consensus that the reggae star may have been involved in a struggle with police officers that may have contributed to the stars untimely death.
Met Officers aided by Surrey officers raided the home of Smiley Culture, in Warlingham Surrey, early yesterday morning. At this stage it’s not clear what the reason for the raid was or indeed what happened once the police arrived. What is known is that within 35 minutes of the police arriving Smiley Culture was dead. The police version of events was that Smiley had “stabbed himself to death” whilst in police custody.
The case has been referred to the Independent Police Compliant Commission who is now conducting an independent investigation. The incident is set to be discussed at the forthcoming monthly meeting Lambeth Police Consultative Group early next month.
Police and black community relations could be deeply affected by this incident and it will be important that the authorities provide a clear and credible explanation of what actually happened.
Lee Jasper former Policing Director for London and Board member for Lambeth Police Consultative Groups expressed his grave concern about the possible ramifications of this tragic incident: “There is widespread and massive anger and concern about the death of Smiley among his fans, friends and family. Concerns are being expressed about the credibility of the police version of events. I knew the man personally and I have to say that even I find the initial police reports of what happened incredulous.” He said.
He added: “Tough questions are being asked about how such a tragedy could occur and very many people are in a state of shock and disbelief. To say the police are disbelieved is an understatement. I will be fully supporting the family in their pursuit of finding out the truth about what actually happened”.
Smiley Culture, real name David Emmanuel, had appeared before magistrates charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine last September.
Smiley was enormously popular with black and white people alike and is considered a forerunner - his chart topping tune Cockney Translator has been hailed as a celebration of British multiculturalism - and to have paved the way for mega artists such as UK Tinie Tempah and Chipmonk.
News update: Press release
The family of UK reggae star Smiley Culture aka David Emmanuel who died Tuesday 15th March in suspicious circumstances during a raid on his home by the Metropolitan Police Serious Crime Squad will be holding a press conference at the Karibu Education Centre 7 Gresham Rd Brixton SW9 7PH, Thursday 17th March at 12 noon .
In attendance and speaking on behalf of the Emmanuel family will be Merlin Emmanuel. A long time friend and associate of Smiley’s, Asher Senator will speak along with other members of his immediate family.
Lee Jasper Chair of the London Race and Criminal Justice Consortium will chair the press conference.
For more information contact Lee Jasper on: 07984 181797.