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Police used 'unacceptable force' on Sean Rigg, inquest jury finds

Issue No. 2314

Sean Rigg, who died in Brixton police station in August 2008

Sean Rigg, who died in Brixton police station in August 2008

The jury in the Sean Rigg inquest has delivered a damning verdict on the police, accusing them of using an “unacceptable level of force” to restrain Sean shortly before he died in their custody.

The police had “failed to identify that Sean Rigg was a vulnerable person” and failed to follow standard procedures for dealing with people suffering from mental illness, the jury found.

The jury also declared that police attempts to make Sean stand up when he was collapsing were “unacceptable and inappropriate”.

The police had failed to care properly for Sean while holding him in a cage in a police van. The decision to leave him in handcuffs was “unnecessary and inappropriate”.

Sean had already died in Brixton police station at 8.24pm on 21 August 2008, the jury found, and not in Kings College Hospital where he was later moved. They amended the death report accordingly.

Reacting to the verdict, Sean’s sister Samantha Rigg–David thanked the jury for telling the truth about what had happened to her brother. Marcia Rigg called for a public inquiry into deaths in custody.

The coroner in the Sean Rigg inquest had instructed the jury to deliver a “narrative verdict”—one that goes through events leading up to a death. This meant that the jury could not deliver a verdict of unlawful killing or an open verdict.

» Background to the Sean Rigg inquest

Screenshots of the verdict

Here are images of the verdict and associated documents, courtesy of the Defend the Right to Protest campaign

Marcia Rigg, Sean’s sister, will be speaking in London on Thursday evening at a Defend the Right to Protest meeting. It takes place at 7pm, Room G2, SOAS, London WC1H 0XG

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Article information

Wed 1 Aug 2012, 15:54 BST
Issue No. 2314
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