Sean Rigg

Yet another vulnerable black man dies while in police custody

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Compiled from various sources
4WardEver UK – 17th Sept 2008

Updates on this case are listed at the foot of this item

At approximately 7.15pm on Thursday 21st August 2008 police were responding to reports that Sean’s behaviour was causing concern to members of the public in the Atkins Road area of Brixton in the UK. He was subsequently arrested in nearby Weir Road on suspicion of public order offences and alleged assault on a police officer. According to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), Sean became ill while being held in the custody suite.

An ambulance was called. While waiting for the ambulance, his condition deteriorated and he was given CPR. Sean was taken to King’s College Hospital in Central London, where he was pronounced dead at 9.24pm.

Sean’s sister Samantha later appealed for witnesses who may have seen Sean being arrested or whilst he was in the police station. She said, “The family is deeply saddened by the sudden death of our brother while in police custody.”

The inquest into Sean’s death was opened and adjourned on, Thursday 28 August 2008, at Southwark Coroner’s Court.

Human rights campaigns group, Black Mental Health UK, has condemned the use of police cells as places of safety for vulnerable people needing mental health care.

The comments come as the Independent IPCC report, published today, examines the role of the police in relation to the use of Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.

This new report has brought to light that large numbers of vulnerable people are ending up in police cells, as temporary places of safety for people, after they have been arrested and are in need of health care.

Sean’s sister said her brother from Balham, south London, had mental health concerns but was otherwise healthy:

“He had a mental illness but he was very fit. From the time of arrest to the time being brought into police custody he’s collapsed and died. We’ve not been told why.

“We are being upright as a family and we have come down here ourselves to find answers. “All of us are shocked, numb, totally gutted. We are anxious, some of us are very angry,” she added.

In April 2014 The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was to consider whether criminal charges should be brought against two of the arresting officers. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigated evidence from Sean’s inquest and gave its findings to the CPS.

The second inquest into his death held in 2012 heard that the arresting officers restrained Sean for several minutes on the ground and then took him to the police station. The jury concluded that the officers had used “unsuitable force”.

In 2013 the two officers were arrested by IPCC investigators on suspicion of perjury and perverting the course of justice. A third officer, who has since retired, was also arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

Read more about the family’s concerns >


Follow-up News:

All charges of gross misconduct against officers involved in the death of Sean Rigg dismissed
1 March 2019

Claims that officers lied about Sean Rigg death in custody case are dropped
13 February 2019

Almost ten years without true justice
February 2018

Family Statement on CPS decision not to charge officers
6 December 2017

Not guilty verdict for cop in Sean Rigg perjury case
8 November 2016

Sean Rigg death: Police officers will not face trial
15 September 2016

Metropolitan police suspend officer facing charges in Sean Rigg case
16 July 2015

Police officers in Sean Rigg death in custody case will not be prosecuted
7 October 2014

Brixton Custody Death: five officers to be investigated
19 June 2014

IPCC reopens Sean Rigg custody death probe
9 December 2013

Police watchdog criticised over Sean Rigg custody death investigation
17 May 2013

Sean Rigg death in custody: police used unnecessary force, jury finds
1 August 2012

Police to explain broken CCTV after station death
24 September 2011

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