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Thursday 7th
posted by Will Stone in Britain

PROSECUTORS have decided for a second time not to charge police involved in the death of Sean Rigg, who died in custody after being arrested and restrained by five officers.

The musician who had paranoid schizophrenia died at the age of 40 in Brixton police station on August 21 2008 after being restrained face down for eight minutes.

An inquest jury in 2012 found the restraint used by police officers “unnecessary” and “unsuitable” and also criticised the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (Slam) tasked with his care.

A review by Dr Silvia Casale in 2013, which was highly critical of the Independent Police Complaints Commission’s (IPCC) original findings, led to criminal charges being considered.

However, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided against prosecuting any of the officers despite them leaving him in the back of a police van and failing to provide him with emergency medical attention.

Mr Rigg’s family asked the CPS to review that decision under our Victims’ Right to Review scheme.

Following a “full review of the evidence” undertaken by a specialist prosecutor who was not involved in the original decision, the CPS decided to uphold the original decision that no charges should be brought against the officers.

It claimed that there was not “sufficient evidence” to bring charges.

Mr Rigg’s sister Marcia, speaking on behalf of the family, said: “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 argued that their nine-year ordeal has achieved no accountability whatsoever and the family are “naturally disappointed” by the decision.

“Any hope has been crushed, unnecessarily,” Ms Rigg added. “Lessons must be learnt, but, without accountability, lessons will never be achieved.”

Charity Inquest, which investigates state-related deaths including those in custody, has been working with Mr Rigg’s family as its legal representative.

The group’s director Deborah Coles 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.”