The police watchdog is investigating the death of the British reggae star Smiley Culture during a Metropolitan police raid.
The 48-year-old singer and MC, whose real name was David Emmanuel, died on Tuesday from a stab wound sustained as officers visited his house in Warlingham, Surrey to make an arrest.
Although it is unclear how Emmanuel was injured, investigators are understood to be looking into whether the wound was self-inflicted.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “As part of an ongoing operation, officers from the Metropolitan police service’s serious and organised crime command attended a residential address in east Surrey to carry out an arrest warrant.
“While they were at the address, an incident occurred during which a 48-year-old man died. Officers from Surrey police attended the incident and it has been formally referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.”
The IPCC confirmed that it was looking into the death.
Mike Franklin, IPCC commissioner for the south east, said: “We will be looking into the planning of the arrest, the way in which it was carried out and the actions of all the officers who were present at the time of the incident.”
Emmanuel had appeared before magistrates charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine last September.
He shot to fame in the 1980s with songs such as Cockney Translation — an explanation of rhyming slang — and Police Officer, an autobiographical song of how he was caught in possession of cannabis but let off when the officer recognised him as a reggae artist.
Although he made a cameo appearance in the David Bowie film Absolute Beginners in 1986, he went on to have little mainstream exposure.
In an interview with the Guardian last year, he spoke of his time in the music business and his musical legacy.
“Police Officer was a true story – the police used to take my weed,” he said. “It was better than being arrested and I made that into a hit. With Cockney Translation, I was a black man talking cockney. I integrated cultures even though I didn’t understand it at the time. I was invited to meet the Queen, who said she listened to my records in the palace.
“Although I paved the way for people like the Streets and Dizzee Rascal, I left the music business because I wasn’t rich.”
Ricky Belgrave, the chairman of the British Association of Static Systems, said Emmanuel’s death was a sad loss for British reggae.
“His tracks, like Police Office and Cockney Translation are well remembered and are still played at the Notting Hill carnival. I think there’s a direct line between the UK talent of the 80s and MCs today and he did pave the way for that. We offer our condolences to his family at this tragic time.”
Source – Dave Simpson