One retired and two serving officers are held in investigation into evidence given at inquest into death of Sean Rigg.
Police have arrested two serving policemen and a retired policeman on suspicion of perjury and perverting the course of justice in relation to the death of a 40-year-old man in police custody in 2008.
Sean Rigg died of a heart attack at Brixton police station in south London after being restrained by police officers, who had detained him at the hostel where he was staying.
Last year, an inquest jury found that police used unsuitable and unnecessary force on Rigg with officers failing to uphold his basic rights as he collapsed after being pinned down for eight minutes.
In one of the most severe verdicts in recent times concerning a death in custody, the jury found that the Metropolitan police made a catalogue of errors which “more than minimally” contributed to Rigg’s death.
Rigg was living in a south London hostel in August 2008 as his mental health deteriorated. One afternoon he smashed up a gazebo and attacked staff and passersby. Staff called the police who did not respond for three hours.
When the police detained Rigg, he was held down in a prone position for eight minutes, even though he was handcuffed after 30 seconds.
Rigg, a musician who had suffered from paranoid schizophrenia for 20 years, was placed face down, with his legs bent back, in a caged footwell of a police van. The jury found that Rigg was struggling but not violent and officers failed to spot the deterioration in his health.
After the inquest, the Metropolitan police assistant commissioner Simon Byrne apologised “unreservedly” for Rigg’s death and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) launched a review of the case. Byrne said at the time: “It is clear from what the jury said and our own conclusions that the way we handled the calls about Sean’s behaviour let us down and set off a series of events that resulted in him being taken ill whilst being restrained and dying in police custody.”
The IPCC said officers arrested police sergeant A, 50, at his place of work on suspicion of perjury and perverting the course of justice, police constable B, 29, at an address in south London on suspicion of perjury and perverting the course of justice, and retired police constable C, 48, by appointment at a central London police station on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.
An IPCC spokesman said: “Investigators have today arrested two serving and one retired Metropolitan police service officers in connection with the ongoing investigation into evidence given at the inquest into Sean Rigg’s death.
“IPCC investigators have carried out searches at their home addresses and the serving officers’ workplaces. Mr Rigg’s family have been told about today’s developments through their solicitors.”
The three arrested have been released on bail until May, the IPCC said.
The inquest jury also criticised the South London and Maudsley NHS trust which failed to ensure that Rigg took his medication for two months and did not conduct a mental health assessment. The jury found the trust care was inadequate and that for 10 days they had missed signs that his mental health was deteriorating.
News published on: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/mar/27/police-arrested-custody-sean-rigg