Culture Stabbed Self in Chest

An inquest jury held in Woking, has determined that the now deceased 48-year-old reggae star David Emmanuel (stage name ‘Smiley Culture’), took his own life by stabbing himself in the chest as the police executed a raid on his home on Hillbury Road in Warlingham, Surrey during March 2011.

Written by Chris White

Following the inquest presiding Coroner Richards Travers announced he would be recommending changes to the way in which suspects during police raids are apprehended and held.

Emmanuel rose to fame during the 1980’s with a series of reggae rap songs, which soon became widespread listening within Britain’s Black Community.

The jury foreman returning the majority verdict read out: “David Victor Emmanuel took his own life.”

Adding that “although the tragic events were unforeseeable, giving one officer the responsibility of supervising Mr Emmanuel and, at the same time the premises search book, was a contributory factor in his death”.

Responding to the verdict in a statement Scotland Yard said: “The inquest heard how a seemingly calm situation unexpectedly escalated into an incident which was to have the most tragic of consequences.

As the jury have stated, this escalation was unforeseeable. The response of the officers involved was immediate, with an ambulance called while emergency first aid was administered in a concerted attempt to save Mr Emmanuel’s life. We recognise that the jury have made comment on the fact that a single officer was supervising Mr. Emmanuel whilst also completing the search record, and we will fully consider any recommendations made by the coroner in this regard.”

Although IPCC (‘Independent Police Complaints Commission’) recommended no disciplinary action the IPCC’s Commissioner Mike Franklin stated: “The ongoing dynamic assessments made by officers on the 15 March 2011 were left wanting.

Four experienced officers felt it appropriate to detain a suspect in the kitchen, potentially the most dangerous room in the house, and afforded him a level of freedom not normally associated with an operation of this kind.

The IPCC has made a series of recommendations to the Metropolitan Police following this investigation, presenting them with areas that should be reviewed and changed in light of the findings. I hope that this inquest has provided Mr Emmanuel’s family with some of the answers they and the community have so patiently waited for.”

After the verdict was read out Emmanuel’s cousin, Merlin Emmanuel said on behalf of the Emmanuel Family: “We have lost an integral part of our family. He had a lot of hope and he had a lot to live for. Why he should have wanted to end his life in that way I do not know, but I do not think he should have been in a position to do that.”

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