Socialist Worker

Police won't face charges over Sean Rigg's death

Issue No. 2584

Sean Rigg

Sean Rigg

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has decided not to charge five police officers in connection with the death of Sean Rigg.

The CPS considered the officers for charges including unlawful act manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter and perverting the course of justice.

“I’m not happy with the CPS decision,” said Marcia Rigg, Sean’s sister. “I don’t think it should end here.”

This is the second time the CPS has decided not to charge cops in connection with Sean’s death. In 2016 the CPS said there was insufficient evidence to charge any of the five officers involved in the arrest, restraint and detention of Sean.

Sean died in police custody at Brixton police station on 21 August 2008.

CCTV footage showed Sean lying on the floor in a holding area at the police station.

Before this he was left in the back of a police van and was not given emergency medical attention.

At a 2012 inquest into his death, restraint used by police officers was deemed to be “unnecessary” and “unsuitable”.

In 2016 a cop charged with perjury in relation to the account he gave of Sean’s death to the 2012 inquest was found not guilty.


Marcia Rigg said, “It is shameful and unhelpful that the CPS should yet again find there is insufficient evidence for a jury to convict police officers who are so evidently guilty.

“The CPS seem to apply an impossibly high evidential test when deciding whether to prosecute police officers, setting the bar so high that one cannot reach it. Almost ten years on, our quest for justice has achieved no accountability whatsoever of the wrong committed against Sean by police officers.”

Deborah Coles, director of civil rights organisation Inquest, said, “For the family of Sean Rigg, the decision is bitter and painful.

“It stands at odds with the inquest evidence and findings.

“Excessive use of force against black people and those with mental ill health continues because of failing systems of investigation, oversight and accountability.

“Preventable police deaths go criminally unchallenged and police officers continue to be shielded from justice.”

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