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Officers involved in Sean Rigg's death will not be charged

NO CHARGES: None of the officers involved in Sean Rigg’s death will face prosecution

FOR THE second time, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has decided not to charge officers of any criminal offences in relation to the death of Sean Rigg, following a review of the original decision.

Sean, aged 40, was suffering mental ill health at the time of his arrest and was restrained by Metropolitan Police Officers. He died at Brixton police station on 21 August 2008.


Restraint by police officers was deemed ‘unnecessary’ and ‘unsuitable’ by an inquest jury in 2012, and the NHS trust tasked with Sean’s care were criticised.

His case has been significant for civil rights and justice campaigners, and was a catalyst for the recent Independent review of deaths and serious incidents in police custody by Dame Elish Angiolini.
Following a review by Dr Silvia Casale in 2013 which was highly critical of the Independent Police Complaints Commission’s (IPCC) original findings, the IPCC reopened their investigation into Sean’s death. Criminal charges were then considered by the CPS.

However, in September 2016 they announced their original decision not to prosecute any officers, despite the length of time Sean was held in the prone position, the decision to leave him in the back of the police van and the failure to provide him with emergency medical attention.
Criminal charges were considered again following a Victim’s Right to Review claim brought by the family.

DISAPPOINTMENT: Sean Rigg’s sister Marcia

The CPS considered five officers involved in Sean’s death for offences of unlawful act manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter, misconduct in a public office, perverting the course of justice, perjury and an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

They have now confirmed their conclusion that there is “insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction” for any of these charges.
Officers are being considered for misconduct proceedings through the police, which can be recommended by the IPCC.

Marcia Rigg, Sean’s sister, said on behalf of the Rigg family:  “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. This is in stark contrast to the approach taken to prosecuting members of the public, whom the police are meant to serve. 

She added: “Almost 10 years on, our quest for justice has achieved no accountability whatsoever of the wrong committed against Sean by police officers. The Rigg family are naturally disappointed and Sean is forever missed by us and the community.  Any hope has been crushed, unnecessarily. Lessons must be learnt, but without accountability lessons will never be achieved.” 
Deborah Coles, Director of 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. Until this changes families will continue to see these decisions as further evidence that police related deaths are tolerated and officers guaranteed impunity.”

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