Family hit out at IPCC over death in custody

13Jan09

sean_riggWhat Sean Rigg needed, desperately, was help: urgent medical attention for his serious mental illness.

What he got, instead, was restraint. He was taken into custody by police officers who failed to notice his illness. And within hours of being arrested, he was dead.

His grieving family pleaded with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to discover how he died. Four months later, their questions still unanswered, they have accused the IPCC of failing to conduct a fair and independent investigation. The investigators have refused to take even the basic step of interviewing the officers involved.

The family say they have been denied access to information they believe would explain why Mr Rigg, a physically fit 40-year-old man, died so suddenly, despite investigators’ pledges to be open. The family’s MP, Sadiq Khan, a human rights lawyer, is to meet investigators on Tuesday to discuss his concerns about the case.

Samantha Rigg-David, 38, sister of the dead man, said: “Our family had never come into contact with the police before this happened; our eyes have been opened to the injustice and discrimination suffered by many families at the hands of the police. But even worse is that we no longer believe the IPCC is independent and have lost faith in their investigation.”

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4 January 2009

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