RIP Smiley Culture: 10 February 1963 – 15 March 2011

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the passing of British reggae veteran Smiley Culture (nee David Emmanuel). Culture died at his home in Warlingham, Surrey, from a single stab wound through the heart after UK Metropolitan Police officers raided his home.

At the end of last year (2011) the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) investigation into Culture’s death concluded there was no evidence to justify pressing criminal charges against any of the four officers who were present at the time. Despite an admission by the IPCC that the raid on his home was “not satisfactory,” no police officers were charged in connection with Culture’s death as it was said it didn’t warrant for misconduct under the police misconduct system. 

The family of Smiley Culture has publicly criticised the police officers involved – none of whom have been suspended – and the decision that they were witnesses in the case and not suspects, meaning they could not be interviewed formally. They have also questioned why the officers involved handcuffed Culture after the injury that lead to his death and why the officer in the kitchen at the time of death refused a request by the IPCC’s lead investigator to give a formal interview.

Smiley Culture was most known for his critically-acclaimed singles “Police Officer” and “Cockney Translation” released in the 80’s. South London rapper Ty named him one of the most influential artists in this country and said Culture made it acceptable for UK rappers to use their British accents. Fellow South London emcee Logic also paid homage to Smiley in a refix of “Police Officer“.

Rest in Power, Smiley Culture.