originally by: The Guardian
published: 1 August 2012
An inquest jury has concluded that police used unsuitable and unnecessary force on a man who died in custody, with officers failing to uphold the detained man’s basic rights as he collapsed after being pinned down for eight minutes.
In one of the most damning verdicts in recent times concerning a death in custody, the jury in the inquest of Sean Rigg, found that the Metropolitan police made a catalogue of errors which “more than minimally” contributed to Rigg’s death.
During his detention, the jury found Rigg was held down in a V shape, in a prone position for eight minutes, despite it taking 30 seconds to handcuff him.
Film by Migrant Media
During the restraint he was placed face down, with his legs bent back, in a caged footwell of a police van. The jury found that Rigg was struggling but not violent and officers failed to spot the deterioration in his health.
Rigg, 40, was a musician who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.
The jury found the NHS was also culpable. The South London and Maudsley NHS Trust had not ensured that Rigg had taken his medication for two months, nor did they conduct a mental health assessment, which the jury found also contributed to his death. The jury found the trust care was inadequate and that for 10 days they had missed signs that his mental health was relapsing. The case draws together several issues of acute concern to Britain’s black communities; from deaths in police custody to concerns about their treatment by mental health services.
Rigg’s family called for a public inquiry into the number of deaths in custody and for criminal prosecutions.
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