RESTRAINED: Sean Rigg
A WITNESS claims that he saw one police officer with an elbow on Sean Rigg’s neck while officers were restraining him.
Giving evidence at the inquest into the death of black musician Rigg who died at Brixton Police station in August 2008, Arif Mauhith said while events in his mind were “not perfect” because of the time that had passed, he remembered seeing a man face down. He said he saw one officer with an elbow on his neck, another had a knee in his back, while the third was “laying across” his legs.
Mauhith who lives near to where Rigg was restrained and arrested, said on June 25 that he saw four officers enter a police van after Rigg had been arrested by two officers.
He said he was initially alerted by police sirens outside his house on the day of Rigg’s arrest and looked out onto his balcony.
Mauhith said he saw, “three officers on top of a male and one other on a radio”.
He said he initially thought the man, who was confirmed as being Rigg, was an officer that had been stabbed “because of the number of officers on the scene”.
Arif’s brother, Shuber Mauhith who was also in the house at the same time, said he also saw Rigg being restrained but his first thoughts were that police were “doing CPR, because they were looking over the male.”
Responding to questions asked by the coroner, a lawyer and jurors at Southwark Coroners Crown, Mauhith said that, Rigg, 40, was “not struggling” as he was escorted by two police officers who were holding him on either side of his arms to a nearby van.
He said that two of the officers then placed him inside the van, while two other officers spoke outside of the van.
“The two or three officers who got in the van came out and they were all outside,” he explained.
The 10-member jury then heard how all officers jumped into the back of the van, and “the van was shaking when all the officers were in the van.” He said he did not hear any noise but made it clear that he was inside his flat, which was on the fourth floor.
He said that two officers then got out of the van and drove off in another police car.
Rigg, who had a history of mental health problems, was said to have had no shirt on, and was wearing only underpants and acting bizarrely when a concerned member of the public called 999.
He was arrested and said to have been restrained before being transported to Brixton Police station where he died on August 21, 2008.
He had been living in a hostel, which provides supported accommodation for people with mental health problems.
More witnesses, including officers who restrained or had other contact with Rigg, are to be heard over the six week inquest, which is due to end on July 25.