Brixton police station candlelight vigil to mark Sean Rigg 5th memorial

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Date: Tuesday 20 August 2013

The family of Sean Rigg are set to mark the fifth anniversary of his tragic death by holding a peaceful candlelit vigil, this Wednesday 21st August from 7-9pm, outside Brixton Police Station where he tragically lost his life back in 2008 while he was in urgent need of mental health care.

This fifth anniversary event comes as the Rigg family continue the campaign to ensure that the recommendations made in his inquest verdict are fully implemented.

Supporters of the Sean Rigg Justice and Change Campaign are expected to assemble with the family at the tree planted outside Brixton Police Station this Wednesday evening, which has become a memorial, not only to mark the tragic death of Sean Rigg, but also many other innocent men from the community such as Ricky Bishop and Wayne Douglas who also lost their lives at Brixton Police Station.

As well as marking five years since the singer and songwriter's death soon after being picked up by officers while he was in urgent need of mental health care back in August 2008, this memorial vigil also marks a year since the damning inquest verdict into this case.

The jury at Southwark Coroners Court returned an inquest verdict that the failings of both the Metropolitan Police and South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (SLAM) more than minimally contributed to the singer and songwriter's death.

On the back of this the IPCC commissioned former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Dr Silva Casale to conduct an independent review of its original investigation into this case. Recommendations in the Casale report included considering bringing misconduct proceedings against officers involved in this case. Three officers are currently under investigation for perjury. The Met Police have also conducted an independent review into how it deals with people with mental illness.

Marcia Rigg, of  Sean Rigg Justice and Change Campaign said: 'On Wednesday 21 August we will be outside Brixton Police Station between 7-9pm at the time when Sean was arrested. He died at 8.24 according to the inquest jury and left Brixton Police station in an ambulance at 9.00pm.

At this vigil we'll also use it as an opportunity to update the community and supporters of where we are with the Sean Rigg campaign because is five years on as we are still waiting to see whether the IPCC will refer this case to the CPS for charges of misconduct or criminal proceedings. We are also waiting to see how the recommendations made the by the coroner will be fully implemented by SLAM. Five years is a significant milestone but we are nowhere near closure yet, it has been very taxing on the family but we have had no time to grieve.'

Matilda MacAttram director of Black Mental Health UK said: 'This memorial is of great significance, to those from the community who use mental health services and their families who been following this case closely. Data shows that black people are 50% more likely to be referred to mental health services via the police

The Sean Rigg case is one that also resonates with almost every family from this community as data shows that black people are 50% more likely to be referred to mental health services via the police, also 50% of those who lose their lives in police custody are mental health service users. All of the coroners recommendations that came out of the Sean Rigg Inquest verdict need to be fully implemented by the police and SLAM if are not to see another tragedy like this one.'

The Peaceful candlelit vigil to mark the 5th anniversary of the sad passing of Sean Rigg will be held from 7-9pm on Wednesday 21 August 2013 outside Brixton Police Station at 367 Brixton Road, Brixton SW9 7DD.

There will be minutes silence at 8.24pm, the time that the jury found that Sean Rigg has sadly passed away on the evening.


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Notes to the editor

- 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.

- Detention rates for people from the UK's African Caribbean community have doubled over the past five years during the period of 2005 – 2010.

- Almost half the deaths of people in police custody are mental health service users.

- Deaths of those detained under the Mental Health Act account for 62% of all deaths in state custody

- A disproportionate number of deaths following contact with the police since 2004 are of black people.

- People from the UK's African Caribbean communities are over represented among those who lose their lives while in police custody or when detained under the Mental Health Act.

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