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Sean Rigg: 'Police must be held accountable', says mother

MEMORIAL: Crowds at Lambeth Town Hall

THE MOTHER of a man who died after being arrested and restrained amid a mental health crisis has said she will not rest until someone is held accountable.

Marie Rigg yesterday addressed a crowd of people gathered at Brixton police station to mark the 4th anniversary of her son's death.

"I just want to say thank you to every body for coming," she said.

"All the support we are getting has been tremendous but we just have to continue the struggle and fight for justice."

Rigg welcomed news that police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), has commissioned an independent review into its own investigation.

But she encouraged the crowd to not let the news make them complacent.

She added: "We not only require justice for Sean, but all the others who have died in police custody. They [the police] need to be held accountable for what they have done. The struggle goes on."

Samantha Rigg, Sean's sister, echoed her mother's thoughts.

"I am overwhelmed by the number of support from the crowd," she told The Voice. The relentless campaigner also urged the public not to give in.

"No justice no peace!" she shouted from the stands.

Lambeth borough commander Matt Bell, who arrived in January, attended a public meeting at the town hall earlier that evening.

Bell told The Voice: "I have only worked in this borough since January and I have had the privilege of meeting members of the Rigg family on a number of occasions."

He added: "I have been really pleased to offer them my services to start looking at how we can progress and move forward.

"I think it is really important that we learn the lesson from the inquest and we develop they way we operate and the way we work."

Bell accompanied the march to the police station, said to be closed for refurbishment.

There the crowd met two officers. A member of public, Mona Dohle, handed over a formal complaint alleging she witnessed officers hitting a man in Brixton's Windrush Square in south London on August 19.

Dohle said: "It is obvious the police have not learnt their lesson."

Rigg, diagnosed with schizophrenia, died on August 21, 2008, following an arrest.

He slipped into a state of semi-consciousness after being unsuitably restrained and was dumped into a police van.

Instead of being taken to hospital for medical treatment, the 40-year-old was taken to Brixton police station where he suffered a heart attack.

An IPCC investigation that concluded in 2010 found that 'officers adhered to policy and good practice'.

Those findings are now being investigated by an independent body in the wake of an inquest, which concluded earlier this month, that found police actions had contributed to Sean's death.

It will be added to a national review into deaths following police contact due to begin in September.

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