originally by: The Independent
published: 11 July 2012
The custody sergeant in charge of a mentally ill man who died at his police station has been accused of “gross failings” after CCTV showed that the officer did not check on the detainee for almost 15 minutes, despite giving contradictory evidence under oath.
Sean Rigg, 40, died on the concrete floor of the caged area of Brixton police station in August 2008, after being restrained by three officers on the street less than an hour earlier.
Police Sergeant Paul White told the jury at Southwark Coroner’s Court how he had carried out an initial risk assessment of Mr Rigg while he was locked in the police van for 10 minutes.
He told the inquest that he had been satisfied by what he saw and what the arresting officers told him that Mr Rigg was better off in the van because he was “violent but medically okay”. The sergeant gave the same evidence to the Independent Police Complaints Commission in March 2009.
In fact the CCTV showed that Sergeant White never left the custody area and the first time he saw Mr Rigg was when he was lying on the floor of the caged area. By this point the jury was told that Mr Rigg was unresponsive, apart from opening his eyes occasionally.