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Sister Of Man Killed In Custody Calls for Charges

Friday 17th May 2013
LBC 97.3FM

The sister of a man who died in custody in Brixton wants Met officers involved in his arrest to face criminal charges.

“We want to see the officers charged and to go on a stand and answer the questions as to what really happened that night,” Marcia Rigg told LBC 97.3 after a new review suggested the police watchdog should look again at officers’ actions.

Her brother Sean was arrested in August 2008 and an inquest into his death found officers used “unsuitable force”.

The 40 year old schizophrenic had been arrested for attacking passers-by and police officers in Balham.

The review, led by criminologist Dr Silvia Casale was set up by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) itself to re-examine its own investigation.

The investigation was slammed by Mr Rigg’s family as “extremely poor and ineffective”.

The new report says the watchdog should look at the length of time Mr Rigg was restrained in a prone position, whether officers ignored signs he was mentally ill and whether they looked after him properly when he was shut in a police van.

Four of the officers claimed they didn’t know the musician was mentally ill – the report also recommended the watchdog look again at these claims.

Even though they had found his passport they said they assumed it wasn’t his.

“The four officers did not check the name on the ‘stolen’ passport with police records that would have flagged Mr Rigg’s mental health needs and could have alerted them to the fact that the person they were dealing with was actually Mr Rigg,” the report continued.

“He was well-known to the police through repeated past contact with the police and mental health services.”

The report also claims that officers behaved “inappropriately” when questioned during the original investigation, batting off questions.

“For example, when one of the four police officers involved in the arrest was asked whether Mr Rigg’s demeanour seemed normal, the PF representative interrupted repeatedly, including asking “what’s normal?”. The review considers this inappropriate and outside the PF representative’s role.”

The original IPCC conclusion was that ‘The officers insist that they did not realise that Mr Rigg was suffering from a mental illness, and there is no evidence to suggest that their assertion is untrue’.

However the new report says “that this assertion was improbable.”

Director of the Police Action Centre Sophie Khan has told LBC 97.3 she is pleased with the result of the review into the original investigation.

“My Rigg’s family have been let down by the IPCC in their initial investigation. It’s hoped – and I hope the family hope as well – that there is some kind of recognition that the restraint used on Mr Rigg was unlawful and excessive and maybe even criminal.”

The IPCC is currently reviewing whether misconduct proceedings should be brought against the officers involved.