“Smiley Culture was a father, an uncle, a friend, and a mentor to many,” said his nephew Merlin Emmanuel during an emotional press conference held just days after the mysterious death of the UK dancehall legend while in police custody. “He was a British Icon who died under the most peculiar of circumstances.”
“This is an issue of truth, justice and equality for all… This is not the time to hurl allegations or vent our emotions. Rather let us unite as a community and as a people, to let the police and the government know that in this great time of revolution and change both at home and abroad that we the people will not stand idly by whilst our people die. We will seek the truth doggedly until that truth has been exposed.” Check the full video via UStream:
Merlin Emmanuel called on those present to “protect the legacy of this great man that it would not be forever tainted. And that we might remember him for his achievements rather than unproven allegations and conspiracy theories.”
Fellow UK dancehall artist Asher Senator recalled how Smiley bought him a car out of his own royalties from his first big hit record: “He was very confident and very clever. Very very clever. While we’re thinking about five pounds, Culture’s thinking about five million pounds. Before we made that first record, Culture had money. Culture had a thousand pounds. Culture helped me out on numerous occasions. I helped him out on numerous occasions…. Smiley Culture, original original… There’s nobody like him. There will never be.”
Dispelling allegations that Smiley was a drug dealer who took his own life while in police custody, his brother Merlin said: “I can tell you Smiley had a great deal to look forward to. It is true that he had an impending case. But it is also true that the evidence in relation to this case was minimal. And he along with his legal team were supremely confident of being acquitted this coming week. Did you know that Smiley traded gold and diamonds and commodities and was worth millions of pounds? Did you know that he had the support of businessmen, politicians, and leaders all around the world? Did you know that he was working with the government of Azerbaijan and had an investment portfolio that spanned Ghana, Uganda, Liberia, South Africa, India, and beyond? Knowing these truths, and the circumstances under which he died, plus the fact that the case against him was void of evidence and he was very likely to be acquitted, we have every obligation to investigate, procure the facts and expose untruths wherever they may lie.”
“I would at this moment urge you the press to try to be responsible in your coverage. You must present the facts in a transparent and balanced fashion. One thing that is irrefutably evident is: the police have a lot to answer to. Until all our questions are answered to dispel any notion of foul play, we will not rest. The powers that be will not have a moment’s peace.”
As the crowd shouted “No justice no peace.” Smiley’s nephew said:
“Now we are not that kind of family, we are not that kind of community, we are not that kind of nation. The truth must be known. Justice must be served. FACT: Smiley Culture died of a single stab wound whilst in police custody while they let him go make a cup of tea.”
“Rubbish!” “Crap!” The crowd yells.
“We the family are calling for a public enquiry.”
Asked what precisely the police had told the family about Smiley’s death, his brother Merlin added the following:
“As I understand it at the moment, the police have yet to give an official statement as to what happened. Isn’t it strange that when any individual in Britain is arrested, if there’s any type of group involved, they detain everybody and separate them? But in the case of police they have days to collaborate. Up till now we haven’t had any coherent explanation from them. They obviously know that they’ve got a lot to explain but at this moment in time we haven’t had an official, clear coherent statement as to what happened to Smiley.”
“Obviously we have to watch what we say at this moment in time but just for you, my people… Smiley was seen at least 20-25 minutes [before] at his home, with police around him. He shrugged his shoulders. Didn’t know what was going on. They arrested his daughter that morning as well. My cousin saw him that morning. She went, dropped her daughter to school, 25 minutes later she came back. Smiley calm, coherent, don’t know what’s going on. They raided him two months previously or something like that. She came back and he was dead. He had plunged a knife… The knife—I can also tell you—had gone right through his body. He’s supposed to have gone in to make a cup of tea and done that…?”
When the master of ceremonies said the community feels they haven’t been told the whole truth about that night, the crowd spoke out loud… Murder! Murder! Murder dat!