Socialist Worker

Protest demands police admit how Sean Rigg died

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2166

Protesters march in the streets of Brixton one year after Sean Rigg’s death in police custody (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Protesters march in the streets of Brixton one year after Sean Rigg’s death in police custody (Pic: Socialist Worker)

The first anniversary of the tragic death of Sean Rigg saw more than 200 people march through Brixton, south London, on Friday of last week accompanied with drums and chanting.

Sean, a healthy 40 year old, died after being arrested by police in Brixton last year.

The past year has been a fight for justice for Sean’s family, who are still struggling to get a proper investigation into his death.

The march from Fairmount Road down Brixton Hill to the police station was led by Sean’s sisters Marcia and Samantha.

Samantha told the protesters, “They killed Jean Charles de Menezes, and got away with it. They batoned Ian Tomlinson down to the ground and tried to get away with it.

“The IPCC are covering up for the police. We demand the prosecution of officers who kill.”

The IPCC have released false statements to the press and failed to conduct a thorough investigation.

They were forced to recognise the family’s lack of confidence in the investigation and replace the person in charge.

Sean was arrested by Brixton police just after 7pm on 21 August 2008. He was “restrained”, put in the back of a police van and driven to Brixton police station. By the time the van arrived, Sean was slipping in and out of consciousness.


After being left in the police van for up to 10 minutes, Sean was held in an outdoor cage area in the back yard of the station. It was there that he died.

Marcia Rigg addressed the marchers. She said, “We have been holding a silent vigil outside Brixton police station every Thursday since Sean died. We have been silent, but today we are here to speak out.

“The police harass and beat our community. We are not dogs, we are humans.”

The protest grew as it took over the two lanes of traffic down Brixton Hill. Many people who were walking by joined the march.

Outside the police station marchers held a rally on the steps. Marcia told the crowd, “What they did to my brother was disgusting. They say there is no CCTV – and that the IPCC is on the case.

“But the IPCC is taking the side of the police and is complicit in this cover up. We need real change. No justice, no peace.”

A minute’s silence was held at the end of the rally and black

balloons were released in memory of all those who have died in police custody.

Sean’s family were told cameras in the station were broken. But Suzanne Wallace, a chief inspector who was in charge of the station, was caught on tape saying CCTV was working and recordings had been seized.

The family are continuing to fight for the CCTV evidence to be released.

The march was organised by the Sean Rigg Justice and Change Campaign and supported by the United Campaign Against Police Violence.

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