Officers from the Independent Police Complaints Commission investigating the death of Sean Rigg, who died in police custody at Brixton police station in 2008, yesterday arrested two serving and one retired Metropolitan Service Police (MPS) officers in connection with the on-going investigation and evidence given at the inquest into his death.
• Police Sergeant A, 50, was arrested at his place of work on suspicion of perjury and perverting the course of justice;
• Police Constable B, 29, was arrested at an address in south London on suspicion of perjury and perverting the course of justice;
• Retired Police Constable C, 48, was arrested by appointment at a central London police station on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.
All three are being questioned by IPCC investigators at a central London police station. IPCC investigators also carried out searches at their home addresses and the serving officers’ workplaces.
Matilda Macattram, director of Black Mental Health UK and member of the Sean Rigg Justice and Change Campaign, said: “There is of culture of lies surrounding any death in custody. The difference between this case and the cases of so many others that we know about like Roger Sylvester or Kingsley Burrell-Brown is that the Rigg family have pushed so hard and relentlessly in this instance that something has given.
“But this is a process and what we have seen in the last 24 hours is something we should see immediately after any one loses their life in the care of the state, particularly mental health service users. We know that anyone who dies in the mental health service are not independently investigated and that is a serious problem.
“Martin Luther King said justice delayed is justice denied, and we cannot be grateful for something that should be afforded to ANYONE in this country as a right. Justice is enshrined in law and the rule of law should apply to all. What we have seen in this instance is a grave injustice. It should not take four years of High Court proceedings and a very painful high profile inquest through which the life of a vulnerable and innocent man is put on display. One should have hoped that the IPCC, a publicly funded organisation tasked with investigating these crimes, could do this much, much quicker.
“What we hope to see is that the Crown Prosecution will take these matters on so that the law applies in the same ways to these officers as it applies to members of the community Sean Rigg comes from.”
People from the UK’s African Caribbean communities continue to be over represented among those detained under the Mental Health Act even though black people do not suffer higher rates of mental illness than any other ethnic group. People detained under the Mental Health Act account for 60% of all deaths in state custody.
Last year, film collective Migrant Media released a documentary featuring the struggle of the Rigg family for justice. ‘Who Polices The Police?’ also investigates the close relationship between the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the police. The film can be viewed here.
Black Mental Health UK is a human rights campaigns group established to address the over representation of African Caribbean’s within secure psychiatric care and raise awareness to address the stigma associated with mental health.
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