Death following arrest: Sean Rigg

Discussion in 'Brixton' started by Minnie_the_Minx, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. AnnO'Neemus

    AnnO'Neemus Is so vanilla

    Really sorry to hear about this. And particularly sorry that the loss affects people here, and people known to urbanites.

    I think this tragedy reflects is a general problem relating to failures in police training and awareness regarding people with mental health problems. The majority of them are woefully ignorant. As are the general public, for that matter, because of taboo and prejudice.
  2. durruti02

    durruti02 love and rage!

    Press: Patrick Ward 07894 49 7705

    PRESS RELEASE - For immediate release

    Friday 21 August

    Friday 21 August - assemble 5.30pm Junction of Fairmount Road and Brixton Hill, Brixton, London
    Rally at Brixton Police Station, SW9 7DD – Candlelight vigil

    On 21 August 2008, at approximately 7.30pm, Sean Rigg was arrested and restrained by four Brixton police officers, placed in a van and driven to Brixton police station. Within approximately one hour of being arrested, Sean, a physically fit and healthy man, was dead.

    Since Sean’s death, his family have campaigned tirelessly for justice. But their commitment to seeing justice done has met with opposition from the supposedly Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), whose weak, flawed investigation seems immensely biased towards the police.

    The United Campaign Against Police Violence fully supports this evening of remembrance, starting at the hostel at which Sean was staying to Brixton police station. We must ensure that justice is done, and that there are no more deaths in police custody.

    No justice – no peace!

    Samantha Rigg-David, Sean Rigg Justice and Change Campaign and sister of Sean Rigg, said:

    "Friday 21st August 2009 will be a year to the day since Sean died and we are still fighting for answers, answers that make sense. We have called for a robust and fair investigation, but still the IPCC continue to take the word, side and perspective of the police.

    “As a family it has been hard to grieve. Instead, we have had to campaign tirelessly and ask some very hard questions and almost conduct our own investigation into what happened to Sean on the night he died in Brixton police station. Our questions only raise yet more questions and lead us into further suspicion.

    “We can only continue in our quest for justice and hope that all those responsible for Sean's death, all those that failed him on that fateful day, will be called to account. These needless deaths need to stop, the police need to indeed work with us, the community, learn to treat us with the respect and care that we deserve in truly working together for 'a safer London' , not one where innocent people turn up 'dead' in the hands of the police."

    Press: Patrick Ward 07894 49 7705
  3. detective-boy

    detective-boy Banned Banned

    It is a much wider problem than that - how the police deal with the mentally ill is a symptom, not the cause - they shouldn't be fucking dealing with them in the first place. They are not trained, equipped or organised to deal with them and never will be. There is simply no way that a police officer can be trained to anything like a high enough level of skill and experience to deal properly with the mentally ill - it is a specialist medical role. The fucking helath service should get off it's arse and provide the services, including mental health paramedics, reducing the police role to "first aid" in exactly the same way that the ambulance service does with physical health issues.

    Every time some tragedy like this happens (and it is only a matter of time before there will be another one), everyone starts slagging off the police and alleging that they have "killed" the victim ... and every time all they succeed in doing is diverting attention from the actual problem. :mad: :mad:
  4. ajdown

    ajdown Posting in this thread

    An important fact a lot of armchair know-it-alls would do well to remember.

    I'm not saying the police are perfect - but all too often it is convenient to blame them for things that were really out of their hands, and very easy to pass judgement on from the safety of behind the computer screen with the benefit of hindsight.
  5. Minnie_the_Minx

    Minnie_the_Minx someinenhhanding menbag and me ah bollox

    ah, is that what it is.

    I got home to a message from b/f saying to be careful in Brixton tomorrow as there might be riots because someone's just been killed.

    He gets things a bit muddled :oops:
  6. ajdown

    ajdown Posting in this thread

    Sounds like traffic disruption if they're going down the hill during the busy part of the day.
  7. Minnie_the_Minx

    Minnie_the_Minx someinenhhanding menbag and me ah bollox

    yeah, I'm hoping I'll get back before they start
  8. ajdown

    ajdown Posting in this thread

    Looking at the site listed above, theres lots of leftie links, so expect the swappies and all the other hangers-on and professional protesters to hijack the protest.
  9. nick h.

    nick h. Eat

    These are all good points but they seem to me to be of little relevance to this case. A physically fit man died because he had been restrained. What are we to make of this 'restraint-related' death? One newspaper suggests this probably means he was deprived of oxygen. How on earth do four officers trained in restraint techniques fail to restrain one man without him dying as a direct result? His schizophrenia is irrelevant - even if he was going berserk it should be possible for four officers to restrain him safely. People go berserk when being arrested whether they're sane or not. The alleged failure of the CCTV camera, the apparent attempt to conceal the facial injuries from the family, the absence of a coroner's verdict after a year's wait, the Police refusal to release their surgeon's report to the IPCC, the misleading IPCC press releases which were reeks of a cover-up of the classic 'he fell downstairs in the back of the van' variety. I'm very disturbed by the whole thing and cannot conjure up any scenario in which innocent put-upon officers are doing their best.
  10. nick h.

    nick h. Eat

    You disgust me. Don't you feel any shame when you try to reduce this man's death to a poor excuse for a traffic jam? You should be banned. I'm flagging your post - I hope I'm one of many.
  11. ajdown

    ajdown Posting in this thread

    I don't know the guy, I have never had any trouble with the actions of the police, so wouldn't it be a little hypocritical to jump on the bandwagon as an excuse to protest?

    Did you know him? I doubt it. So what's your reason to support this march?

    Any untimely death is tragic, yes, regardless of the circumstances. I fully support the right of people to voice their opinions on this issue, and if they wish to do a protest march down Brixton Hill and shout outside the police station about it then that's fine by me. But what about the rights of people who just want to get home tomorrow evening?

    Hype, rather than fact?
  12. bluestreak

    bluestreak HomosexualityIsStalin’sAtomBombtoDestroyAmerica

    cock off.
  13. bluestreak

    bluestreak HomosexualityIsStalin’sAtomBombtoDestroyAmerica

    no really, cock off. you really are an arrogant pathetic selfish cunt of the highest order.
  14. nick h.

    nick h. Eat

    If you want to discuss your right to drive home nice and fast please start a separate thread about it. Please stop hijacking this thread with your banalities. It's disrespectful to the dead man, his family and friends. Leave this thread to people who value justice and human life more highly than the waste of three minutes of your precious time sitting in a traffic jam.
  15. ajdown

    ajdown Posting in this thread

    I notice nobody attacked 'minnie the minx' for posting a similar concern about traffic disruption *shrug*

    Happy protesting tomorrow I guess. I'm surprised the police allowed it during rush hour though.
  16. Minnie_the_Minx

    Minnie_the_Minx someinenhhanding menbag and me ah bollox

    Yeah, well I was posting more about the fact that b/f had written me a rather confused note about avoiding Brixton Hill tomorrow and he wanted to warn me that something was going on and he's very worried.

    He's not really aware what it's about though. I was more speaking out loud reassuring him I'd be alright than stating that a protest would fuck up my journey, although to be fair, I didn't explain that.
  17. ajdown

    ajdown Posting in this thread

    You don't need to justify yourself. Neither do I, or anyone else really.
  18. detective-boy

    detective-boy Banned Banned

    You have clearly never had to deal with someone kicking off big time in a situation where they need to be restrained, mentally ill or not. It is NOT something you can do without using very significant amounts of force. :rolleyes:

    As for how the restraint was done, police officers are very well aware of the dangers of positional asphyxia and excited delirium - they have been taught as part of officer safety training for at least 10 years. Whether or not they used appropriate restraint methods will be the focus of the investigation.

    But you seem to be making the assumption that just because someone was fit and healthy before they kicked off and a couple of hours later they were dead then they must have been killed by something done to them. That is absolutely NOT the case - go and Google excited delirium and you will find that it is a recognised, but very poorly understood, condition.

    But my original point stands: there is no way the police should have been left to transport someone suffering from mental illness in a police van and there is no way they should have been left to take him to a police station. Sort out the causes (absolute lack of acute mental health provision), not the symptom (ill-trained, ill-equipped police officers being left to pick up the pieces because the fucking health service and every cunt else can't be fucking arsed ...) :mad:
  19. nick h.

    nick h. Eat

    OK, I've just read the wiki entry on excited delirium. And I can imagine that now and again people will die of positional asphyxia when police are sitting on them, which seems to be the standard way of restraining someone who has completely lost it. I saw this up close in the US once - massive amounts of force were used - the guy was built like a brick shithouse and was completely irrational well before the police arrived. It looked like one guy versus a whole rugby scrum. But it was difficult to see what else the police could have done short of a taser or a dart gun with a tranquilliser. In Sean Rigg's case perhaps the police refused to attend because they looked up his file and didn't want to risk such a scenario? I suppose we'll just have to wait for the inquest.

    If we had mental health paramedics what method would they use in these situations?
  20. hotchiwitchi

    hotchiwitchi Active Member

    Probably call the Police if they felt that their own or the publics safety was in danger.Which illustrates that the police will be left to deal with and often blamed for other organisations present only the police have the capacity or capability to forcefully restrain perceived violent people in a public space.

    Mental health and social service support is predominately mon-fri 9 to 5.Look in any inner london emergency department on an evening and witness the large proportion of people there with Social problems as opposed to strictly medical.
  21. detective-boy

    detective-boy Banned Banned

    It's most definitely NOT the "standard" way at all. In the initial stages of restraining someone it's probably inevitable to some extent (as the incident you witnessed in the US no doubt illustrated). Once some degree of control is established, however, pressure should be removed from neck / chest / abdomen as soon as practicable (being transferred to spread arms and legs and possibly head (to prevent thrashing around)). Monitoring of breathing should also be proactively done as soon as practicable and any difficulty in breathing addressed immediately. Handcuffing is an issue too - it is the only means we have in the UK of restraining someone for transporting them and in itself, if done behind the back (which is the only effective method of taking arms out of commission, violence-wise)) it can itself restrict breathing ... which gives the police a Catch-22 situation ...

    I don't think there is any real alternative to the initial restraint. I think there is scope to make use of Taser and possibly some other less-lethal technology but, one way or another, you end up having to stop someone fighting. Paramedics could make use of sedatives and drugs, where police cannot, so that would add another alternative and it would remove the need for significant physical force to be maintained for long periods of time (street, van, custody suite, cell ...).

    The advantage would be that (a) they would have all the other monitoring and emergency resuscitation equipment in case the subject deteriorated; (b) paramedic vehicles would be designed to be as user-friendly as possible for a mentally ill patient (with different restraint equipment as used in mental hospitals), thus minimising risk to subject and (c) they would be taking them direct to a mental health facility, again designed specifically for mental health patients, not to a police station and a general cell.

    I really, really think it would be far more useful if families and interest groups involved in cases like this could take a step back from their immediate, knee-jerk, "The police killed him, everything else is lies and cover-up" reaction and actually work with the police to try and identify what can be done to stop it happening again. Whilst there may have been inappropriate or excessive force used, in the majority of cases all that has happened is that ill-trained and ill-equipped police officers have done their best with their limited resources to deal with something that is really beyond them. If that is the case, or largely the case, families and interest groups would get far, far further working with the police rather than against them.
  22. shakespearegirl

    shakespearegirl just worked out taglines

  23. Minnie_the_Minx

    Minnie_the_Minx someinenhhanding menbag and me ah bollox

    Did they actually have a march?

    I got off the bus at Blenheim Gardens at 5.15 and didn't see anyone on Fairmount Road
  24. Jonti

    Jonti what the dormouse said

    Suzanne Wallace is right: the fact the tape has "gone missing" does make people suspect a cover up.

    Seems difficult to believe the theft and destruction of evidence concerning the death of Sean Rigg could have been done by one "bad apple" cop acting alone :hmm:
  25. nick h.

    nick h. Eat

    It's today. Starts at 5.30.
  26. detective-boy

    detective-boy Banned Banned

    It's a big (and unjustifiable) leap from what is in the articles in the links to an allegation that the footage has been stolen and destroyed. There is no specific statement to show that there was ever any footage from the particular camera(s) that covered the cage. The Chief Inspector's statement may be read in that way or it may be read as she had been assured the system was working and the recordings had been seized ... but she had not specifically seen the footage from a particular camera.

    The system used to record on a single tape through a multiplex system when I worked at Brixton twelve years ago. I cannot believe that it has been downgraded since then so that individual cameras record on individual tapes. There will therefore be a single tape containing recordings from all cameras. I would hope that the Chief Inspector actually checked the specific camera tracks before making her statement ... but there is nothing in it which confirms that she did for sure so it may be that the camera(s) covering the external cage area were defective even though others were working and recording OK. This was not an unusual situation when I was there (regarding different cameras at different times, not specifically the cage ones) and is not an unusual situation with any multi-camera system. Better maintenance, checking and handover regimes for police station custody suite camera systems could definitely be introduced - they tend to be fairly low down the list of things checked and their importance in situations like this is not recognised until after the event by most officers.

    If it is a multiplex system, it also makes your (entirely unjustified by any actual evidence) allegation that the tapes have been stolen and destroyed pretty impossible, unless all footage from all cameras has disappeared (and there is no indication of that at all).

    And even if it has been lost somehow, it seems clear from the Chief Inspector's statement that Professional Standards seized the tapes at on just after the incident ... and so there is no way the officers involved in the incident could have interfered with them and you are expecting us to believe that officers from Professional Standards, absolutely uninvolved with the incident and employed to investigate incidents involving police officers have conspired with the officers involved to destroy evidence of some criminal wrongdoing (which there is no actual evidence of either, not least because it appears the cameras which do show some of the cage show Mr Rigg collapsing a couple of times, and even sufficient detail that an officer sort of nudged him with his foot, do not show any actual use of force whilst in the case area).

    There do appear to be some issues here in terms of how he was treated (in terms of first aid and general care) whilst at the station and if there was such a delay in calling for medical assistance as appears from the facts reported then there are certainly hard questions to be asked of the officers concerned ... but that is going to get lost in the noise if the allegation becomes that he was somehow beaten to death as seems to be the case at the moment.

    As for the period held in the cage: whether or not that was right or wrong will depend on what else was happening in the custody office. It is not the largest room in the world and it is absolutely standard practice for custody officers to "queue" incoming prisoners if they are already busy with previous ones (otherwise the custody office becomes too crowded and unmanageable). If Mr Rigg was clearly ill (as would appear to be the case) the officers dealing with him could and should have brought that to the attention of the custody officer ... but the reported comments suggest that they, for whatever reason, decided he was faking his collapse (something which is not an unusual situation ...). I certainly don't think the period held in the cage will turn out to be anything suspicious or malicious.
  27. detective-boy

    detective-boy Banned Banned

    Interesting article.

    The details of the IPCC investigation, particularly it's speed, suggest (as is often the case) that it has not been done as well as it could / should have been. As I have commented many times before, the IPCC sacrificed competence and experience in appointing it's investigators for the symbolism of independence (i.e. they could not have any prior involvement with the police). That may have played some part ... but the major issue will undoubtedly be their dire understaffing - from the day they were introduced they have had nowhere near enough staff to independently investigate even the relatively few top level cases referred to them.

    As well as the stuff I have mentioned earlier in terms of providing emergency paramedic support for dealing with people with acute mental health issues instead of abandoning them to the ill-trained and ill-equipped police, we need to review how we resource the IPCC if we are to expect them to deliver anywhere near the service we clearly (and rightly) expect of them.
  28. nick h.

    nick h. Eat

    If you are sitting alone in the cage why might you stop breathing? Can it happen as a result of excited delirium even when nobody is manhandling you?
  29. Mrs Magpie

    Mrs Magpie On a bit of break...

    I know that area of Brixton Police Station from when I was a lay visitor/appropriate adult. The word 'cage' is a bit misleading. It's a sort of large meshed area leading into the Custody Suite from a large yard.

    I often used to go in there with detainees for a ciggie (dunno if that's allowed now) but also I was there as an appropriate adult with someone who was really claustrophobic and we just hung out in there while I calmed them down because even sitting in the cell with the door open was not great because the corridor wasn't that big.

    Also if CS spray had been used detainees would get 'aired' there because it was acrid stuff. I have very sensitive eyes and I could tell straight away if CS spray had been used in an arrest because my eyes would hurt almost immediately I went through the door even if no one else was affected.
  30. agricola

    agricola a genuine importer of owls

    This is correct. Most Met stations have a "cage", its usually used as either a waiting area for people who are waiting to be booked in to custody (where there are other detainees ahead of them in the queue), or as an area where detainees can go for a cig in the open air.

    As for the CCTV, it is a bit odd - on the one hand people here appear to be suggesting its missing, on the other the Grauniad are saying that there is footage (albeit obscured) of Rigg in the cage:


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